Dealers who lost their Chrysler franchises in 2009 are suing the U.S., asking for compensation. What some of them really want is recognition of their emotional losses.
"Of course, I'd like to see some money," said Michigan dealer Jeff Tamaroff. "But just being vindicated would be nice."
Tamaroff is one of 280 dealers who sued the government in 2010, and the case is finally heading to a trial next week in the Court of Federal Claims. In an industry defined by family-owned businesses handed down through generations, the pain was personal as well as financial when 789 franchise agreements were suddenly broken as part of the Chrysler bankruptcy restructuring that was managed and financed by the U.S. Treasury.
Tamaroff knew there would be consolidation, but he never anticipated having his franchise agreement terminated with only three weeks' notice, he said.
"I don't think any of us thought that we were going to get bulldozed like that when we really don't cost the manufacturer anything to operate," Tamaroff said.
He had to shut down Tamaroff Dodge in Southfield, Mich., which had been in business for 22 years.