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Plant City Courier

Iconic Plant City hotel on auction block Aug. 16

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Published:   |   Updated: July 22, 2013 at 12:22 PM

PLANT CITY The Red Rose Inn and Suites and thousands of acres owned by the Madonia family will be up for auction next month.

Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. hope to repay debts and remain in farming with proceeds from the sale of the iconic hotel and other properties. In March the couple filed for bankruptcy protection for themselves and three companies they own, listing debts of $50 million to $100 million.

Here's the auction schedule:

10 a.m. Aug. 15: Approximately 7,377 acres of farm and development land in Martin, Hillsborough, Polk and Manatee counties; two packing houses; a former Bible college and several labor camps.

3 p.m. Aug. 16: Red Rose Inn and Suites, along with a home in Lakeland, home sites in Plant City's Walden Lake and other Florida assets.

3 p.m. Aug. 19: Cape Charles, Va.-area properties, including two luxury homes in Bay Creek; a plantation-style home and colonial-style house just south of Painter; and home just west of Oyster. Also set for auction is a home surrounded by water on Marsh Island just outside Chincoteague.

1 p.m. Aug. 20: Thirty-one properties, mostly farmland, totaling approximately 3,228 acres; produce packing houses; labor camps and several homes in Virginia, primarily in Accomack and Northampton counties.

9 a.m. Aug. 28: Live and online auction of agricultural equipment, Mulberry.

9 a.m. Sept. 3-4: Live and online auction of agricultural equipment, Virginia.

For auction information, call (800) 607-6888 or go to www.murraywiseassociates.com.

Earlier this year, the Madonias offered the properties through sealed bids. The sealed bids will be used in setting the starting bids at the auction.

Carl Carter, a spokesman for Murray Wise Associates, which is helping manage the auctions, said he didn't know the amount of the offers already received by sealed bids.

The Madonias have an extensive tomato-growing operation but are best known for their ownership of the 261-room hotel. The hotel became a Plant City icon with its Southern theme and TV commercials featuring Evelyn Madonia, often dressed in sequined gowns.

The Champaign, Ill.-based Murray Wise Associates, is managing the auction in cooperation with Crosby and Associates Inc., based in Winter Haven, and Woltz & Associates, based in Roanoke, Va.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTrib

dnicholson@tampatrib.com

(813) 394-5103

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