A federal jury sided with a Pennsylvania dealer in November when it awarded him $4 million in damages in a lawsuit against GMAC Financial Services, according to the Reading Eagle.
Donald Mente is the former owner of Mente Chevrolet in Richmond Township and Mente Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Maxatawny Township, both in Pennsylvania.
Mente filed a lawsuit in May 2008 accusing GMAC of improperly shutting down his two dealerships in July 2007. He said GMAC accused him of selling vehicles without paying for them first and then abruptly closed his dealerships.
Prior to the closures, Mente said GMAC demanded that he make immediate payments on his inventory.
“Within a week, they drained all the money out, and 77 people were out of work,” he told the Reading Eagle. “I didn’t know what was happening. I had never had anything like this happen to me before.”
Mente told the newspaper he tried to find a buyer for the shuttered dealerships, but the deal fell through.
During a two-week trial before U.S. Judge Juan R. Sanchez in Philadelphia, witnesses testified that GMAC officials took control of the dealerships when Mente’s former controller, Donna Johnson, was on vacation in July 2007.
GMAC argued that 11 vehicles were not paid for by Mente when they conducted an audit at the Chevrolet dealership before closing the two dealerships, according to the Reading Eagle.