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Liquidation firm purchases Luke paper mill

LUKE, Md. (From news reports) -- A date for auctioning the former Luke paper mill's assets has been set by Capital Recovery Group, the property's owner.

CRG recently purchased the property in an effort to generate income by liquidating the equipment and parts remaining on site.

Last owned by the Verso Corp., the mill was closed in June 2019, impacting 675 workers. Verso officials cited a lack of demand for gloss paper, rising input costs and an increase in imported product as the reason for the closure.

CRG is a global private equity firm that creates liquidity for its clients by selling surplus assets, according to its website.

"The company is selling off (equipment), but the good news is they are going to try to market some of the remainder of the (land) to some other potential businesses," said Jason Bennett, Allegany County administrator. "While they are scrapping it and things are moving off, there is still some promise for the site. We stand ready to help on any of that, but it is certainly (CRG's) prerogative."

A three-day online auction has been scheduled for June 1-3 beginning at 10 a.m. each day with registration and online access found at

Efforts were made to sell the historic mill to another paper producer but the attempt was unsuccessful.

"They were hoping (to sell the mill), but the market is just not there right now," said Bennett. "But it still presents an opportunity (with the land) to have some jobs and make the best of a bad situation."

Prior to the auction, interested parties may come to the plant on May 31 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to inspect the equipment.

According to the CRG website, "Before the bidding process starts you'll have an opportunity to inspect each lot. Our staff will be available if you have any questions. All items sold at an auction are sold as-is and with all faults, so it's your responsibility to know what you are buying."

The auction features more than 3,000 lots of industrial equipment including electric motors, forklifts, machine tools, paper machinery, switch gear, and transformers.

The June 1 sale will feature forklifts and heavy mobile fleet. An enormous spare parts inventory will be sold on June 2. Paper machinery and wood yard equipment will be sold on June 3.

The mill was opened in 1888 by the Luke family as the Piedmont Pulp and Paper Co. The Luke's owned nine paper mills and millions of acres of timberland globally at the company's peak in the 1960s.

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