Trophies of big-game hunting former Ashby co-op manager Jerry Hennessey go up for sale
The trustee (assignee for the benefit of creditors) is selling the extensive taxidermy from Jerry Hennessey, former general manager of the Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator, who is in federal prison for stealing $5 million so he could go big game hunting.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — A taxidermy collection of exotic animals accumulated by former Ashby (Minn.) Farmers Cooperative Elevator manager Jerry Hennessey is for sale.
Erik Ahlgren, a Fergus Falls, Minn., attorney and “assignee for the benefit of creditors” of the defunct co-op, acknowledges a collection of items were recently listed by Antlers by Klaus of New Richmond, Wis. There are 100 items at the website, https://antlersbyklaus.com/product-category/skins-taxidermy-for-sale/taxidermy .
Hennessey pleaded guilty in 2019 to stealing $5 million from the co-op between 2003 to 2018, when the co-op discovered his embezzlement. In July 29, 2019, Hennessey reported to the low-security area of Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina, to serve 8 years.
‘Dr. Seuss names’
The trophies that once filled large buildings on his farmstead near Dalton, Minn., are far afield from Minnesota. If you want a warthog tossing a monkey on a stone platform with grasses, it’ll set you back $1,770.
If you want a “kudu pair,” it’ll set you back $2,700.
There’re are five elk, ranging from $1,200 to $1,650.
If you add up the whole shooting match, the total is roughly $100,000.
Ahlgren said the names remind him of “Dr. Seuss” characters — a water buck, a newgie, a kob. There’s a bush bak.
The top 25 items from Hennessey are $4,500 for a big horn sheep, $4,500 for a desert sheep and $2,970 for a muskox.
Ahlgren said another $25,000 worth of things had been sold previously. A moose mount was sold to the Ely, Minn., Wolf Center for $10,000. He said rhinoceros and a couple of lion skins can’t cross state lines. He doesn’t know how many weeks or months it will take to sell it all.
Nola Lebrecht, a co-owner of Antlers by Klaus, said the amounts listed are good deals — discounted from “what normally would be retail.” She said taxidermists have their own pricing, but noted “1,500 for a hippo mount is a good deal.” Shipping is available only within the U.S., unless by special arrangements. The company will take Visa, Mastercard and cashier’s checks. Personal checks are accepted with prior approval.
The collection has been on the company website for several weeks, but doesn’t identify it as coming from Hennessey. Lebrecht said typically the collections are most valuable to the hunters themselves. Sometimes when a notable hunter dies their family will donate sizable collections to museums or stores who want them to display.
The scandal shouldn’t affect values, Lebrecht said.
“I don’t’ think it has any bearing,” she said. “A beautiful mount is a beautiful mount. We’d like to find good homes for these pieces. That ‘double kudu': If I had room in my house, I’d want that.”
Ahlgren said most of the taxidermy was done by Taxidermy Unlimited of Burnsville, Minn., owned by Marv and Betty Gaston . The creditors of the co-op in June 2019 filed suit against the Gastons for taking money from the co-op without providing value to the co-op. That’s still pending.
Antlers by Klaus does taxidermy and habitat replications. Klaus Lebrecht is a two-time world champion in the category of antler replication. The artist makes a rubber mold of an antler of interest, pours a resin into it and then hand-paints it. Hunters will sometimes make replicas for their own display purposes, for insurance, or to provide copies for fellow hunters or interested parties.
Here is a list of the top 10 items on the auction:
$4,500 — Big Horn sheep
$4,500 — Desert sheep
$2,970 — Muskox
$2,700 — Kudu pair
$2,370 — Timber wolf
$2,100 — Nyala
$2,100 — Sable
$1,920 — Zebra
$1,800 — Elk
$1,650 — Elk