Monday, February 23, 2009

The Biggest Cheerleader for Real-Estate Auctions

Posted By C. Brown
A $500-a-seat charity fund-raiser was sputtering in the hands of an amateur auctioneer, so a guest named Steven L. Good rose from his table and took the stage at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago. Relieving the amateur, Mr. Good talked a mile a minute, entertaining and cajoling a fortune out of the well-heeled crowd.

As a real-estate chief executive, Mr. Good was a self-promoter in the tradition of his role model, Donald Trump, but he promoted more than himself. Determined to dissociate real-estate auctioneers from livestock peddlers and used-car salesmen, Mr. Good strove to link his profession to high-end auctioneers such as Sotheby's and Christie's. Those efforts helped elevate the real-estate auction, long the last resort of desperate sellers, to a way of marketing premier properties.
"It can knock the top out of a good property, and Steve really helped develop that motif," says Mark Hale, a Chicago-area banker who sold countless properties through Mr. Good's firm, Sheldon Good & Co.
This month, the real-estate auction lost its biggest cheerleader. On Jan. 5, Mr. Good drove his red Jaguar into a forest reserve outside Chicago and shot himself. He was 52 years old. Relatives, friends and business associates say they don't know why he did it.

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