Sarah Palin's SUV while she was mayor of Wasilla before becoming Alaska's governor has been auctioned off for $10,300, a profit of about $3,000 owing to Palin's celebrity.
The decision by local officials to put the city-owned vehicle on the auction block was criticized by some who felt the move was an attempt by the city to capitalize on Palin's fame in order to fatten city coffers, the Associated Press reported
In response to the accusation, Mayor Verne Rupright said "guilty as charged," the AP noted. According to Rupright, the money would go towards replenishing the city’s vehicle replacement fund.
One of those dissenting voices was Deputy Mayor Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, who proposed that the surplus be used to stock the shelves of Wasilla's Food Pantry. That proposal however died Monday night with a 3-3 tie in the City Council. Rupright reportedly chose not to cast a deciding vote.
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"I feel like it’s unfortunate the mayor would try to capitalize on Sarah Palin’s fame and her reputation," Sullivan-Leonard told the AP, adding that she felt the $10,300 "was above and beyond what the city coffers would need."
Rupright defended his decision to use the money for government purposes by saying that selecting one nonprofit over other worthy nonprofits was not fair.
With 74,188 miles used by Palin while she was Wasilla's mayor, the 1999 Ford Expedition had an estimated value of $8,000, meaning the former governor's fame added at least $2,300 to the value of the car. A Fairbanks, AK, woman won the SUV on Nov. 27
Considering the success of the SUV sale, Sullivan-Leonard wondered whether or not the mayor will auction off other city-owned property that was once used by Palin to raise more money for the city.
"Down the line, maybe the mayor’s got some tables and chairs that Sarah Palin used he wants to put on eBay?" she said.
When asked, Rupright told the AP that his office chair was in fact used by Palin when she was mayor and would likely get $10 if sold at a second hand store considering "getting a little old and dirty," though because of the former occupant, the chair could potentially fetch upwards of $200, he estimated.
"Somebody might find some value in it," Rupright said. "If you can get some dollars back for it, you should try, in my mind. That’s just business."
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