For most of us, once we’ve sold our property, it’s gone and we never have to think about it again. Unfortunately for Mark Oberholzer, a plumber in Galveston County, Texas, the used truck he sold to AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston continues to haunt him. The name of his company, which he painted on the side of the truck to grow his business, has turned on him and now instead of helping him gain customers, it costs him business.
Mr. Oberholtzer sold his truck to the car dealership as part of a trade-in deal for a newer model. His son started to peel off the name and phone number of the company, but the salesman told him to stop because it would mess up the paint job and that the decal would be removed later.
But it never was removed. The lawsuit alleges the dealership sold the truck at auction in November 2013, the month after they bought it from Mr. Oberholtzer. From the auction, the truck went to Turkey and apparently made its way to Syria where ISIS converted the flatbed to carry an antiaircraft gun.
About a year after the auction, images of the truck, complete with Mr. Oberholtzer’s company logo, began appearing on social media. An Illinois writer reporting on jihadist groups used one of these photos of the truck, along with the comment that it was being used against a regime in Aleppo.
Images of the truck also made an appearance on “The Colbert Report” and Colbert referenced the plumbing company’s logo, which could clearly be seen on the truck.
After the truck’s appearance on the popular Comedy Central show, the lawsuit alleges Mr. Oberholtzer’s plumbing business began receiving thousands of threatening and harassing phone calls accusing Mr. Oberholtzer of supporting terrorists. The threats have expanded from Mr. Oberholtzer to include some of his staff and family members.
The lawsuit alleges Mr. Oberholtzer’s business has suffered as a direct result of his truck appearing in jihadist hands with his company name still clearly visible on the side of the truck. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have met with Mr. Oberholtzer and they allegedly advised him to protect himself. The lawsuit alleges Mr. Oberholtzer has started carrying a handgun after his former truck was allegedly mishandled by AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway.
Although it’s been a year since images of the former plumbing truck first appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show, the lawsuit alleges Mr. Oberholtzer continues to receive harassing phone calls about how the truck he used to own is currently being operated. In September, excerpts from Colbert’s show were aired again for the Emmy Awards ceremony, which the lawsuit alleges resulted in another flar of harassing phone calls to the plumbing business, amounting to hundreds of calls on a daily basis.
The lawsuit is seeking $1 million in damages from the car dealership to compensate Mr. Oberholtzer for the business he has lost and the costs associated with handling the threatening phone calls that still haven’t stopped coming through the phones, both at home and in his business.Our Chicago used car dealer fraud law attorneys near Naperville and Waukegan bring individual and class actions suits for defective cars with common design defects and auto dealer fraud and other car dealer scams such as selling rebuilt wrecks as certified used cars or misrepresenting a car as being in good condition when it is rebuilt wreck or had the odometer rolled back. Super Lawyers has selected our DuPage, Kane and Cook County auto-fraud, car dealer fraud and lemon law lawyers as among the top 5% in Illinois. We only collect our fee if we win or settle your case. For a free consultation call our Chicago class action lawyers at our toll free number 630-333-0333 or contact us on the web by clicking here.