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Banking/finance

December 30, 1987|James S. Granelli, Times Staff Writer

The Land of Oz exists no longer for those once summoned to the plush and spacious office of the late Duayne D. Christensen, owner and chairman of North America Savings & Loan.

About 500 bidders bought everything at the Santa Ana offices during an auction earlier this month, including the two huge oak doors that seemed to open magically to Christensen's lair much like the doors in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," opened to a magical land.

Employees at North America Savings often referred to Christensen's office as the Land of Oz whenever they approached the ceiling-high doors.

The garage-door opener came with the doors.

Regulators seized the S&L a few hours after Christensen was killed in a single-car crash nearly a year ago. They ultimately found what they call the biggest insider fraud in state S&L history and have sued his estate and his colleagues to recover $43 million.

The Dec. 5 auction, a 13 1/2-hour event, raised more than $240,000, according to a recent report from Jan Bendis Auctioneers in La Habra, which handled the event. The proceeds came to nearly twice what the company had predicted, said Sharron Stockman of Bendis. His art collection, valued for the auction at $32,000, accounted for about half the proceeds, she said.

A number of bidders had known Christensen and wanted some of his personal properties, such as his desk and chair--a $12,000 value that went for about $4,000. A grandfather clock in the lobby fetched the highest price--about $4,500.

Also sold was Christensen's extensive collection of eagles, including the stylized eagle inlaid in the lobby rug with tiny lights that changed colors every few seconds.

One bidder, whose name was not revealed, spent about $81,000 on a number of items.

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