The balloon was recently auctioned online, and Aurora businessman Michael Fruitman of Mike's Stadium Sportscards won with a bid of $2,502.
He says he purchased the item from an attorney representing Richard Heene and was told the money would be going to benefit Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, since a Colorado court ruled the Heene family could not profit from the hoax.
"I didn't think I'd be a winner. I've always wanted to own something really unique. This is a piece of Colorado history and yes, if it helps more people learn about my store, fantastic," Fruitman said.
The 20-foot balloon was hanging from the ceiling in the back of the store, intact but with some tears in the foil. It was being hidden behind a blue tarp on Wednesday, just one day before its unveiling to local media and onlookers on Thursday. The store says it has renamed the balloon "Flimflam One."
Fruitman says the balloon will be on display and even streamed live on a webcam until Oct. 15 of this year, the two-year anniversary of the incident. On that day, he says he will cut the balloon into strips to be sold with all proceeds benefitting the Smoky Hill Thanksgiving SHARE Basket Project.
After serving short jail sentences, Richard and Mayumi Heene and their three sons moved to Florida. Richard Heene was ordered to pay $36,000 in restitution after the incident set off a frantic three-county search, National Guard helicopters were deployed and flights were temporarily diverted at Denver International Airport.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)