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The pot of money that, eventually, will be used to pay US Fidelis creditors grew by about $1.1 million over the weekend, thanks to the auction of a 144-acre farm in St. Charles County that had belonged to one of the brothers who own the bankrupt Wenztville company.

The Wentzville farm was purchased several years ago by DC Atkinson Realty, a company controlled by the brothers Darain and Cory Atkinson. Ownership was transferred early this year to Cory Atkinson and his wife, Heather.

There are no houses on the Wentzville farm, but the site would be well suited for home construction, according to Thornhill Real Estate and Auction Co.

Saturday's auction drew about 150 people, with about a third of them taking bid numbers, said David Warfield, a lawyer for a committee of unsecured creditors and an architect of the legal settlement that required the Atkinsons to turn over virtually their entire fortunes to the bankruptcy estate.

The winning bid was about $1,145,000, Warfield said.

Before it stopped selling extended auto-service contracts late last year, Wentzville-based US Fidelis was the nation's No. 1 seller of those aftermarket vehicle-protection plans. That company also was one of St. Charles County's biggest employers.

The company imploded amidst allegations of fraudulent business practices and pilfering by the Atkinsons. It filed for bankruptcy on March 1.

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