...Lawyer Leonard Bellavia, of Bellavia Gentile & Associates, who represents some of the terminated dealers, said he deposed Chrysler President Jim Press on Tuesday and came away with the impression that Press did not support the plan...
"It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers," Bellavia said. "It really wasn't Chrysler's decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President's automotive task force."
Follow the evidence trail, below, and judge for yourself.
Dealers on the closing list donated millions to Republicans, $200 for ObamaThe initial pass at the list of shuttered dealers showed they had donated, in the aggregate, millions to Republican candidates and PACs and a total of $200 to Barack Obama.
In fact, I have thus far found only a single Obama donor ($200 from Jeffrey Hunter of Waco, Texas) on the closing list.
Another review of all 789 closing dealerships, by WND, found $450,000 donated to GOP presidential candidates; $7,970 to Sen. Hillary Clinton; $2,200 to John Edwards and $450 to Barack Obama.
Now, and this is important, Chrysler claimed that its formula for determining whether a dealership should close or not included "sales volume, customer service scores, local market share and average household income in the immediate area."
Dealer Jim Anderer told Fox News' Neil Cavuto he can't comprehend how his dealership can be among those killed: he stated that his sales volume ranking is in the top 2 percent of all dealers.
Furthermore, Anderer says explanations aren't forthcoming. "They won't tell us. They seem to be running for cover right now because they won't give us a solid explanation. They come up with all these reasons, but none of them seem to make sense... This is insanity. The government is stealing my business. And they're telling me there's nothing I can do about it... There was no process that you could put your finger on and say, 'Hey, we cut 25 percent of the lowest performing dealers.' They didn't do that. Nobody will give us a real clear explanation of the formula that they came up with."
The odds of a non-partisan process being employed can best be illustrated by RLJ.
The Mysterious Case of RLJIn Smith's research, one company kept popping up on the list of dealerships remaining open. The company is RLJ-McLarty-Landers, which owns six Chrysler dealerships. All six dealerships are on "the safe list."
RLJ's owners "are Steve Landers (long-time car dealer, 4th-generation dealer), Thomas "Mack" McLarty (former Chief of Staff for President Clinton), and Robert Johnson (founder of Black Entertainment Television and co-owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats)... McLarty campaigned for Obama in 2008, and Johnson has given countless amounts of money to Democrats over the years."
Smith examined RLJ's markets, which I've illustrated below.
Bentonville, AR Market
1. Bentonville, AR Landers-McLarty (RLJ owned)
2. Springdale, AR Springdale Chrysler-Jeep (owned by Harold Schwartz)
3. Springdale, AR Steve Smith Country
Springdale is about 15 miles south of Bentonville.
The 2 Springdale dealerships gave no money to any political candidates since 2004. The 2 dealership will close in June while the RLJ-owned dealership in Bentonville will remain open.
The Landers-McLarty dealership will have no other Chrysler dealers within a 20-mile radius of the dealership.
The closest competitors will be in Pineville, MO (22 miles away) and Fayetteville, AR (27 miles away).
Huntsville, AL Market
1. Huntsville, AL Landers McCarty D-C-J (RLJ Owned)
2. Athens, AL Champion Chrysler Dodge (owned by Jeffrey Hamm)
3. Decatur, AL Cloverleaf C-D-J (owned by Kevin Morris)
The dealerships in Athens and Decatur gave no money to any political candidates since 2004. Landers-McCarty and the Athens dealership will remain open while the Decatur dealership will close in June.
Here is a link to the document containing the information gathered on RJL-McLarty-Landers. It appears that the company will benefit greatly from the reduced competition in their markets. For the most part,the dealerships that are forced to shut down in the 5 markets have either given no money to candidates or have donated to GOP candidates in the past...
There are 4 dealerships within 30 miles of Branson, MO.
1. Branson, MO Tri-Lakes Motors (RLJ owned)
2. Ava, MO Davis Dodge (owned by Larry Davis)
3. Ozark, MO Heritage Chrysler-Jeep (owned by Kay Church)
4. Ozark, MO Ozark Dodge (owned by Kay Church)
Mr. Davis and Ms, Church gave no money to any political candidates since 2004.
The RLJ owned dealership in Branson will remain open while the other 3 dealerships will be forced to close in June.
Tri-Lakes Motors in Branson (RLJ owned) will have no other Chrysler dealers within a 30-mile radius of its dealership...
This is only the beginning of Doug's research. GO READ THE WHOLE THING.