David R. Maltz, founder and chief executive of the Central Islip-based auction firm Maltz Auctions Inc. died of leukemia Dec. 21 at his home in Woodbury. He was 60.
Maltz founded the company, formerly David R. Maltz & Co. Inc., at his parents’ home in Valley Stream in 1979, before later conducting auctions outside a rented trailer in Plainview, and then building an office for his operations. Today, the private family business auctions off more than $100 million in assets annually, including real estate, cars, boats, commercial vehicles and business equipment repossessed or seized for unpaid taxes.
Born to Maurice and Shirley Maltz in Flatbush on Dec. 24, 1954, Maltz graduated from Valley Stream North High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration from the New York Institute of Technology.
His operation started off small, said his son, Richard Maltz, president of the firm. “He did the auctions that nobody else wanted to do,” he said.
“He knew how to read people,” said the younger Maltz, who started watching his father conduct auctions when he was 3 years old. “He could look at a crowd and know who was going to bid before they bid. He knew how to work the crowd.”
Although he sold more than $2 billion in assets over his career, Maltz’ business acumen “paled in comparison to his love, affection and commitment to his family and friends,” said Rick Stern, longtime friend and partner at bankruptcy law firm Macco & Stern in Islandia.
“He was just very committed to his family and friends despite the extraordinary demands that his business placed upon him,” said Stern, who knew Maltz for 27 years. Maltz completed auction sales on behalf of Stern in his capacity as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee.
The company moved from Plainview to a larger facility in Central Islip in 2013, and recently posted the best fourth quarter in the company’s history, reaching more than $30 million in sales. It brought Maltz joy to see his family business achieve such a milestone without his active involvement, his son said.
“I couldn’t have asked for better father or mentor,” his son said.
During Maltz Auction’s nearly 40 years in business, some notable items and properties it was involved with included the $19 million sale of the bankrupt Woodcrest Club in Syosset; the combined $18.6 million sale of the Hamptons compound and Manhattan condo of Marc Drier, a New York lawyer sentenced to 20 years in prison for a $400 million investment fund fraud; and the $51,000 sale of the Cricket II, the boat originally used by shark hunter Capt. Frank Mundus, believed to be the inspiration for the character Quint in the book and movie “Jaws.”
The Maltz family held funeral services at Gutterman’s funeral home in Woodbury on Dec. 23.
In addition to his son, and his wife, Deirdre, whom he married on Dec. 10, Maltz is survived by his mother, Shirley; his daughter, Sheryl; daughter-in-law Victoria; brothers, Laurence and Keith Maltz; grandchildren, Madison and Brandon; and his former wife, Andrea Maltz.