An Ohio dealer has closed his two dealerships and turned over his vehicle inventory to General Motors Acceptance Corp. to help pay more than $3.7 million due the captive finance company.
GMAC sued dealer Thomas Bishop; his wife, Sherry; his father, Eugene; and their dealerships, Bishop Pontiac-Oldsmobile Inc. in Wadsworth and Bishop Motors Inc. in Barberton, contending the Bishops intentionally dodged attempts to collect payment on several loans.
The captive finance company had provided the two dealerships with wholesale vehicle financing, real estate, equipment and working capital loans since 1991.
GMAC alleges that in October 2001 the Bishops passed bad checks and sold vehicles without repaying the company for financing them.
The amended complaint, filed in April in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, asks for $3,730,720.26 plus interest to cover unpaid loans and $10 million in punitive damages.
The suit contends that GMAC is entitled to punitive damages because Bishop should have known that the balance in the account would not cover the checks.
The suit notes that passing bad checks violates Ohio law.
Bishop's lawyer, Joseph Diemert Jr. of Cleveland, said: "Tom Bishop has been in business many years and has done a good job. Time and circumstances have crumbled around him, and he was unable to keep things going."
Jeffrey Embleton, a Cleveland lawyer representing Bishop's father, who founded the business, said Eugene Bishop had not been active in the dealership for many years and had sold out to his son before the operation ran into financial trouble in 1998.
GMAC's lawyers could not be reached for comment.