Bart Reagor owes Ford Motor Credit Co. $53,759,450.96, a Texas jury decided Thursday after a two-day trial. It is the exact amount Ford said in court that it was owed.
Ford Credit sued Reagor, co-principal Rick Dykes and their Lubbock, Texas, Reagor Dykes Auto Group in July 2018, alleging breach of contract and fraud and saying it was owed about $112 million. A day later, the dealership group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in northern Texas, shielding it from the civil suit.
But the two dealer principals were still liable as personal guarantors of contracts with Ford Credit, which updated its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas accordingly. Dykes settled in April for $58.7 million. Tom Kirkendall, an attorney for Dykes, told Automotive News at the time that details of the consent judgment with Ford Credit were confidential, but if Dykes followed terms of the agreement, the $58.7 million would be returned to him. Ford Credit confirmed that there is a confidential agreement but declined to elaborate, including on whether Dykes could get back the money.
Reagor was ordered to pay Ford Credit in May, but he contested the amount actually owed to the company and demanded a jury trial to determine the sum. Ford reportedly called the only witnesses in the trial, which involved the captive finance company outlining the amount it was owed.
The dealership group's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding continues separately in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas in Lubbock.
In separate but related legal action, the company's former CFO, Shane Smith, and two other employees have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a practice of fake floorplanning vehicles as well as "check-kiting" schemes. Smith was set to be sentenced Oct. 1, but the date has been changed to Jan. 7. It is not clear when the other two employees, Sheila Evans Miller, a controller, and Diana Herrera Urias, an office manager, will be sentenced.
Smith faces up to 20 years in prison and will be required to pay mandatory restitution of more than $50 million. Miller and Urias face up to five years in prison and could be required to pay at least $23 million in restitution.
Neither dealer principal has been charged with a crime.