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Roadshow runs into bumpy reception in Brainerd

The Treasure Hunters Roadshow scheduled to start Monday at the Brainerd Hotel and Conference Center was shut down after organizers failed to get a permit from the city.

Brainerd Police Deputy Chief Mike Bestul said Treasure Hunters Roadshow organizers had submitted an application for a permit but the permit was denied by staff after the company failed a background check.

Bestul said organizers, based in Illinois, were informed last week that the show's permit was denied but Treasure Hunters Roadshow employees putting on the show in Brainerd apparently were not told there was no permit.

"They did show up today thinking they had a permit because I guess they thought the home office would take care of it," Bestul said. "We notified them in a timely manner but the company didn't notify their employees."

After being shut down by police, Treasure Hunters Roadshow packed up their show and left Brainerd. Joe McCurdy, general manager at Brainerd Hotel and Conference Center, said the company asked him to place a sign at the hotel's front entrance explaining the show had been canceled.

"We've had steady stream of people from all over the surrounding area coming in (Monday) for the show," McCurdy said. He said Treasure Hunters Roadshow staff had prepaid to have the show at the hotel and had assured him that they had a permit for the event.

The Treasure Hunters Roadshow is owned by Illinois-based THR & Associates. Several messages left at THR & Associates offices seeking comment weren't returned Monday.

The Treasure Hunters Roadshow stop in Brainerd was scheduled to run through Saturday. The event was billed as a chance for residents to talk to antique and collectible experts, who will make offers based on what collectors are willing to pay. If someone decides to sell they get paid on the spot and treasure hunters send the item to the collector at their expense.

THR & Associates received an F rating from the Better Business Bureau, the bureau's lowest rating. According to the Better Business Bureau's website, in the past 36 months 15 complaints about THR & Associates had been processed by the bureau concerning issues with advertising, billing and collection, customer service, delivery, refund or exchanges and sale practices.

Bestul said that Treasure Hunters Roadshow organizers sought a peddler/solicitor/transient permit. He said Brainerd receives many similar permit requests throughout the year and a fair amount are similarly not granted.

"That's for the safety of the people of Brainerd, so they don't get taken advantage of," Bestul said. "We didn't single (Treasure Hunters Roadshow) out."

Bestul said the Treasure Hunters Roadshow operation more fit requirements for a second-hand goods license, which requires documentation for buying and selling goods.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at matt.erickson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5857.

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