Mark and Maryanne "Mare" Chisholm, the owners of Safari Media and subjects of a recent New Times cover story ("Ecstatic Fall," James Hibberd, September 7), have started a new online business: selling their spectacular wardrobe on eBay.
The Arizona attorney general and Arizona Corporation Commission have accused the couple of selling $14 million in unregistered securities, $7 million of which was allegedly transferred to their personal accounts and spent on houses, cars, jewelry -- and designer clothes. Most of the Chisholms' valuables were seized during a July raid at their Tucson home.
The state has filed an order to have the Chisholms held in contempt of court for violating an order not to dispose of any personal or company property.
The Chisholms have recently sold more than 100 items on the online auction site. Recent items for sale have included a "Neiman Marcus Embroidered Fox Fur Trim Velvet Coat" that sold for $3,550 ("This coat is identical to one worn by Sharon Stone in People magazine," wrote Mare Chisholm); and a "Gaultier 2000 Collection Couture Ensemble" ("art in fashion . . . this is an incredible find and investment for any woman who wants to feel like a princess, if just for a night").
That last item originally cost more than $2,000 and was sold with its price tag still attached for $255.
Posted comments from buyers have been, well, ecstatic.
"Another great item from a lady with GREAT taste," wrote one.
"This seller is one of eBay's all time BEST," wrote another. "I LITERALLY CRIED WITH JOY WHEN I OPENED THE PACKAGE!!!"
Mark Chisholm says that most of the clothing was either donated by friends, improperly purchased by former employees on company credit cards or purchased after their home was raided.
"We are making like 25 cents on the dollar for these items and just need a way to survive and get a proper defense for us and our investors," he says.
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Pat Murphy, attorney for the court-appointed receiver in the Safari case, says it does not matter where the property came from.
"If it's property that was given to them, they're enjoined [prohibited] from selling it; if it's property they bought, they're enjoined from selling it," he says. "I don't care what the judge does on this motion, these people are not going to stop unless he locks them up."
A date for a hearing in Phoenix on the matter is set for next month.
The Chisholms are also selling photographs of themselves and their friends on eBay, which Murphy says is likely permissible as photographs are considered to be of "nominal value" compared to designer clothing.