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Restaurant owner buys slab of Berlin Wall

Special Photo Ray Stanjevich, owner of the Friends American Grill restaurants, poses with his wife Suzanne Cartwright after buying an auctioned piece of the Berlin Wall for $23,500 Saturday in Suwanee.

Special Photo Ray Stanjevich, owner of the Friends American Grill restaurants, poses with his wife Suzanne Cartwright after buying an auctioned piece of the Berlin Wall for $23,500 Saturday in Suwanee.

SUWANEE -- On Saturday, most people were hosting cookouts in the backyard, taking a dip in the lake or lying by the pool.

But not Ray Stanjevich. He decided to spend his Saturday bidding on an auctioned piece of the Berlin Wall in Suwanee Town Center.

After writing a check for $23,500, the piece of concrete was his. The owner of the three Friends Sports Grill restaurants is originally from Serbia and was affected by the Cold War. For now, Stanjevich doesn't have plans for his piece of history.

The piece has been in the Atlanta area since 1991, and was auctioned off by Auction Management Corp. after being seized in an Atlanta ponzi scheme. The firm Lighthouse Financial Partners misappropriated more than $7.3 million, and the courts appointed Greg Hays of Hays Financial Partners to come in and sell off the assets. One asset was the piece of the Berlin Wall. The money raised at the auction goes back to the investors who were victims in the scheme.

The concrete artwork is about 12-feet tall and weighs about 8,000 pounds, with graffiti that shows a building, people and the American flag on the concrete section that once faced west.

The 100-mile wall, constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting in 1961, cut off West Berlin from East Germany and from East Berlin. The Wall came down in 1989 following protest demonstrations.