Randy Beighle, the Hulings' lawyer, says his clients knew of the investigation, but police did not give them details. The dealerships were not involved, he adds.
"It was an investigation of some employees and not something the dealerships had done," Beighle says.
Steve and Tom Huling own the property that houses the former dealerships. Gee says he found a prospective customer for the dealerships, but the sale fell through because the Hulings would not assign the leases for the property to the buyer.
Beighle says Gee Automotive did not give the Hulings enough time to research the buyer. He says the company's business decisions caused the dealerships to close.
"They fairly quickly turned over a lot of the senior managers and used a different advertising model," Beighle says. "It is not the Hulings' fault they ran the business a different way."
Gee Automotive has until Nov. 30 to leave the dealerships' property. The company has returned the dealerships' franchises to their respective manufacturers. The automakers bought back the new-vehicle and parts inventories, Ryan Gee says.
The company has sold off the dealerships' used-vehicle inventory. It has scheduled a public auction Nov. 13-14 to sell other assets, such as furniture and computers.