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Counties turn to online auctions

More than 12,000 Detroit-area properties up for bid

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Wayne County, Mich., still has more than 12,000 tax foreclosed properties that it hopes to auction off online, following an auction in September that brought 300 participants from as far away as Hong Kong.The online auction was conducted by, a company with a client list that includes about 40 counties, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Department of Treasury.Wayne County, which encompasses more than 40 communities including layoff-ravaged Detroit and affluent Grosse Pointe, had nearly 13,000 properties to dispose of before the Sept. 17-23 auction, which generated $4.1 million in revenue. A second auction has been scheduled for Oct. 22-28. "We are very pleased with the results of our first Internet auction," Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz said in a press release. The online auction generated more than six times the revenue of a live, onsite auction a year ago, Wojtowicz said, and "far surpassed our expectations."The auction barely den...