LI dealer stops Chrysler's move to halt franchise

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | James Bernstein, Newsday

Last year, Chrysler Group Llc, mired in bankruptcy proceedings, terminated 789 dealerships across the country, saying it had too many for its diminished market share.

Among the terminated was one of Long Island's largest Chrysler dealers, Eagle Auto Mall in Riverhead. Eagle was one of about 200 dumped Chrysler dealers that began to fight the auto giant in an arbitration to regain their Chrysler franchises.

Until last week, only 14 dealers nationwide had bested Chrysler in the proceedings.

Last week, Eagle Auto learned it had become the 15th to win its hearing, and it expects to begin selling Jeeps and Chryslers again within 60 days, Eagle Auto owner Mark Calisi said. Eagle Auto was also the only Long Island Chrysler dealer to regain its franchise. The others reached financial settlements with Chrysler.

"We got phone calls from all over the country," Calisi said, referring to calls he got from people upset with Chrysler's actions. "They wanted to make a statement."

Chrysler said in a statement it was "disappointed" with the arbitrator's decision, but it noted it had won 44 cases and that fewer than 30 remain to be arbitrated.

"Chrysler Group is looking forward to moving beyond the arbitration process and completing our dealer network plans," the company said.

Leonard Bellavia, of the Mineola-based Bellavia Gentile & Associates law firm, which represented Eagle Auto and many other terminated dealerships across the country, said that in preparing for the arbitration, he had uncovered e-mails from top Chrysler executives.

Eagle Auto was officially told it was being terminated because it also sold Mazdas, Volvos and Kias, which Chrysler said was "contrary to its business model," Bellavia said.

But the e-mails, Bellavia said, told a different story.

They said Calisi was "difficult to deal with," Bellavia said. "He would blow the whistle on them" about auto prices and other issues, Bellavia said.

Chrysler would not comment on the e-mails.

Bellavia presented them to arbitrator Larry Biblo during a two-day hearing at a Westchester County hotel. Last week, Biblo wrote that Eagle Auto's franchise "will be renewed."

Calisi said the termination had its consequence on his business: It lost $18 million in revenue in the last year.




Monthly Dealer Representation Program
This is the most acclaimed program in the industry for franchised dealers who would like one of the most experienced dealership law firms in the country to be their “in-house” counsel on a daily basis. For a low monthly fee of $300, dealership employees have unlimited access to BBAC attorneys on all dealership issues.
Learn More

Find out the five (5) reasons why doing this in-house will cost you far more than retaining the law firm with a national reputation in warranty parts reimbursement.

CALL US: 516-873-3000!

Dealer Gets Court Order Preventing Bank From Terminating Floor Plan
A floor plan lending institution threatened to terminate its floor plan relationship with an automobile dealership client. The basis upon...
Automotive News
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
New GM disclosure form riles dealers
General Motors dealers could face major penalties, even termination, if they fail to use a new... MORE
Automotive News
Monday, October 13, 2014
Factories, dealers clash over canceled store sales
When Mercedes-Benz scuttled Jona-than Sobel's $30 million deal to buy a New Jersey dealership last... MORE
Press Release
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Judge Allows Dealers' Antitrust Lawsuit Against CARFAX to Proceed
Mineola, N.Y., October 1, 2014-In a decision issued this week, the Federal Court denied a... MORE
Regional Auto Dealers
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Leonard Bellavia to Speak at the New Jersey Regional Auto Dealers Seminar
Leonard A. Bellavia will be a speaker at the New Jersey Regional Auto Dealers Seminar on October 16... MORE
Bellavia Blatt
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Bellavia Blatt's Chrysler Dealer Termination Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Grows
MINEOLA, NY, September 17, 2014-In an amended complaint filed this week, 20 additional terminated... MORE
Bellavia Blatt
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Bellavia Blatt's Dealer Mass Action Lawsuit Against CARFAX up to over 700 Plaintiffs
MINEOLA, NY, September 3, 2014-Bellavia Blatt Andron & Crossett, P.C. now represents over 700... MORE
Bellavia Blatt & Crossett, PC has offices in Long Island, Manhattan, Albany and New Jersey    |     Contact Us
BGA - DealerLaw on Facebook BGA - DealerLaw on Twitter BGA - DealerLaw on Linked-In