Gee situation update: A Huling family rebuttal

As the date for the threatened shutdown at Gee West Seattle approaches, we just heard again from the Huling family.geehulingicon.jpg Sharon Huling is the wife of Steve Huling, who ran the business before the sale to Gee. She e-mailed WSB to say, “Below is a statement that I would like to make on behalf of our family to the community. … It would be greatly appreciated if you would post it as there has been additional press about the Gee’s accusations printed today in the West Seattle Herald.” (The Herald article she refers to is here; the Times article mentioned below is here.) Her statement, unedited:

To our fellow community members,

It is upsetting to see our family’s reputation attacked in the newspapers. But I remain confident that the truth will come out – it always does – and thus our reputation will be restored. The Seattle Times article was pretty brutal to us, 19 quotes from the Gees, 5 or 6 from Steve, and select few facts. If you do the math, that’s about a 3:1 ratio (Gees:Hulings). There are also several statements in the West Seattle that warrant correcting if only in the pursuit of honesty and neighborly obligation:

First; the Gees made a promise to us not to disclose the sale price of the dealership, which they have now done (though inaccurately) and in the paper. By doing so they have broken their promise.

Second; last winter our family did not give $100,000 to the victim. What happened is this; Steve, on behalf of Huling Bros. and immediately upon learning about the questionable sale of the truck to the victim, unwound the truck sale and refunded the money to the customer. This occurred over a year ago at the time of sale. Then in January, immediately upon learning from the police that 3 former employees would be charged with a crime, our family chose to act with integrity and make restitution to the gentleman for the $70,000 our employees were accused of stealing though we were not obligated to do this. But to be perfectly clear, Huling Bros. and Steve were never accused of doing anything wrong.

Third; my husband did call Ryan Gee and Cline Davis immediately (I was present) upon learning from the police that former employees would be charged with a crime and it is they who chose not to return his phone calls thus missing out on the opportunity to secure some goodwill and stand with our family together against injustice.

Ryan Gee appears to being trying to fix the blame on my husband Steve and try him in the media. The Gees have clearly stated that they have a self-serving motive; suing us. It is very sad to read because of the vehemence of their attack and its inaccuracies. Just because Mr. Gee says something doesn’t make it so. In our great country we still honor the belief that people are innocent until proven guilty. My husband is an honorable man and I encourage the media to investigate the accuracy of Ryan’s statements, their reputation and track record in business east of the mountains and especially here with the people who worked for both of us. There you will find a story of the true tragedy; the people who will soon find themselves without a job.

Fourth; I am confused about Ryan Gee saying that their partnership “ran out of money” in his press release because one of their business partners – Wolff family members (Wolff Enterprises, LLC associated with Wolff Cos, etc.) from Spokane and Arizona – are worth hundreds of millions, possibly even a billion dollars. The Wolff”s are huge developers on a national level. One can only speculate that as such they could have made other choices like staying open until they are able to sell the dealerships thus not leaving 160 employees out on the street to fend for themselves. Our hearts go out to them and their families. Again, that is the real tragedy of this story. Still I am glad to see that our old Puget Sound competitors have been calling and making offers to many of our former employees whom they obviously value.

Fifth; I think that it is disingenuous to think that you can sell 3 dealerships in 2 weeks time, especially in this down market, this is the intent the Gees expressed to their employees last week when they announced their immediate plans to sell or close the business by Oct. 7th. It took us over a year to select a broker and find a buyer.

Sixth; besides breaking their promise of confidentiality, the Gees, as my husband stated in the WSH, broke other promises like changing the closing date for the sale at the last minute, more than once, and now they have broken their lease agreement. There have been other broken promises like saying they would meet to discuss differences, then not showing up or canceling at the last minute. Ryan has stated that they chose not to use the Huling name when in reality they did not buy the rights to use the Huling Bros. name, we purchased our name back during negotiations. What happened, happened to us, to Huling Bros. – the Gee’s are not us – a message they failed miserably at communicating to the public, a responsibility that lies with them.

Despite all of the negative press initiated by Ryan and his team, our family is doing well. There is nothing that I have written here that isn’t common knowledge, but I would like to add some additional perspective; in June the Gees – through their lawyer – wrote to Steve and his brother Tom saying that if they did not sell to them the properties the dealerships stand on “for less than market value” then they would sue us. My husband still has this letter. Ryan’s recent actions, with his threat to sue us in the Gee’s recent press release, lend credence to this statement.

We are thankful for and we welcome the positive reinforcement from our friends, former employees and former satisfied customers whom we cultivated through our good standing in the Seattle business community for over 60 years. Under Steve’s leadership our dealership sold thousands of cars a year over the course of many years. Huling Bros. consistently earned the highest ratings for customer service in the industry from the manufacturers and the public. Steve was also was awarded the Time Magazine Dealer Quality Award for the state of Washington and belonged to many civic and business organizations. We will continue to support and be active members of the community. We are deeply saddened that 3 men, who only worked for Huling Bros. a few short months, have caused so much heartache, for the victim and for everyone involved. We are people of integrity and we will continue to hold our heads high.

Most sincerely,
Sharon Huling

We are e-mailing Gee Automotive with a link to this post and offering them the opportunity to publish an unedited statement here too, if they so choose. Meantime, the clock ticks to this Sunday, when we will see if one of West Seattle’s biggest businesses does indeed close, costing more than 100 people their jobs.

39 Replies to "Gee situation update: A Huling family rebuttal"

  • Rhonda Porter October 3, 2007 (7:07 pm)

    I’ve never bought a car from Huling or Gee. It does appear to me that Gee is grasping for straws in a down market. I’ve not noticed advertising or efforts to reach out to the WS community. I’ve never owned a car lot or sold cars…I would think it would be challenging to do so from West Seattle, which is almost like an island–not very convenient.

  • Maggie Brown on behalf of GEE Automotive October 3, 2007 (7:41 pm)


    Car salesmen accused of taking mentally ill man’s life savings
    now threatens jobs of 160 former co-workers

    SEATTLE – The actions by former Huling Bros. Auto Center employees facing criminal trial next week on charges of theft, fraud and money laundering for cheating a mentally vulnerable man out of more than $100,000 are having far-reaching consequences:160 current, innocent employees of the auto dealership may lose their jobs because of the lasting damage caused to the dealership’s reputation.

    “Business at the West Seattle dealership is down more than 50 percent from this time last year,” said Ryan Gee, CEO of GEE Automotive which purchased the West Seattle dealership less than two weeks before news broke of the scandal.

    “When we surveyed our primary customer base, West Seattle residents, to find out why,” he said, “we learned nearly 90 percent said they knew of the criminal behavior, and many said they would never buy a car from the dealership.”

    In early January, King County prosecutors charged former sales manager Adrian G. Dillard, 32, and former salesman Ted Coxwell, 39, with burglary and theft. Dillard was also charged with money laundering. Former salesman Paul Rimbey, 39, was charged with theft. Dillard and Coxwell are scheduled for trial in King County Superior Court Oct. 3. Rimbey’s trial will follow sometime after.

    “Despite our best efforts and those of our ethical, loyal employees, it’s clear that in the public’s eye, GEE Automotive is too closely associated with the fraud. We believe the only way to save the jobs of our employees is to try to sell the dealership and give it a ‘fresh start’ with a new owner,” Gee said.

    Gee said that situation was personally disturbing for many reasons.

    “GEE Automotive, which started nearly 25 years ago with a single dealership in Spokane, has grown into one of the largest family-run dealerships in the Northwest with a highly regarded reputation. Our employees and customers are like family to us,” he said. “We have never encountered any situation like this.

    “Further, while Steve Huling had personal knowledge of the criminal investigation, he never disclosed that information to us prior to purchase.”

    On Wednesday evening (Sept. 26), Gee held a meeting with the employees to inform that unless a buyer could be identified by Oct. 7, the dealership would be forced to close.

    “We’re working very hard to identify a new buyer,” Gee said. “But the fact remains that GEE has lost its entire investment in the dealership, and we are sustaining monthly losses in excess of $300,000 per month.”

    “We have never had to close a dealership before or lay off employees like this – and hope we are not forced to do so. We have always treated our employees and customers as family. This has been a very difficult decision to make.”

    # # #

  • The House October 3, 2007 (7:54 pm)

    I don’t know either party in this situation and I’ve refrained from commenting b/c I really could care less. However,…..

    At first glance, it’s very easy to blame Huling Brothers for the whole mess that went down and railroad them in the media. Of course, Gee would do this….their business is failing. None of us know all of the facts of the case, that’s investigators, arbitrators and lawyers jobs. Let’s stop turning this into the “Paris Hilton Goes to Jail” of West Seattle.

    It is quite possible for a handful of “rotten seeds” to act as renegades and commit crimes without the owners (Huling) knowing. I work in an industry in which as a leader I have a high level of integrity, but I’ve had DOZENS of folks work under me that don’t have any.

    I say put it to rest and let them hash it out.

  • Jan October 3, 2007 (8:12 pm)

    I appreciate Sharon Huling saying what she did. Yes, there are 2 sides to every story. I think most of us have seen the press release that Maggie Brown posted here this eveing. What I would like is for Ryan Gee to be upfront now, being as he values his West SEattle employees “like family”….maybe some personal involvement from the owner to the community a long time ago would have made a difference. He’s a businessman, with experience, I’m assuming. I doubt that he can lay the blame totally on what happened before he became the owner. Releasing old press releases does nothing to endear himself to anyone on the peninsula, IMO.

  • Jiggers October 3, 2007 (8:42 pm)

    Hard work paid off for Hulings success in WS Also, they came into WS at the right time. Times have changed here in WS now, and so has the business of selling cars.

  • Oliver October 3, 2007 (9:04 pm)

    Sharon, in case your reading, there are plenty of us in this community whose hearts go out to you and your family. Business owners sometimes have rotten employees, that doesn’t make the owners rotten. You are very brave for making a public statement. My hat is off to you.

  • chas redmond October 3, 2007 (9:40 pm)

    Practically everyone who comes or goes from or to West Seattle has passed by the Huling Bros. signs – for decades. I was quite surprised to see the new red Gee signs up and read with interest how long it takes from the car companies to get new, approved, signs. The dealerships still look like they’re in a “lost our lease” sale mode with temporary signs up over everything and the Huling Bros. neon sign at the corner of Alaska and Fauntleroy looking somewhat vandalized.

    It would have made a difference, I believe, if the Gees had had some kind of “Hi, we’re new in town but want to be thought of as the new “Huling” brothers” celebration or open house. Had they had some kind of community event, some kind of peninsula-wide advertising blitz when they first came in, we would know a little more about them and probably thought more of them.

    As it is, they’re just some Spokane family who decided they wanted to own a business in West Seattle – the fact that it sold tons of cars from many manufacturers seems to fit the whole “family-owned car dealership” model. But, they weren’t family – we didn’t know who they were and had no clue about their reputation “east” of the mountains. I don’t have much sympathy for the Gees because they haven’t made themselves part of my “family” and seem still to be rather remote and distant.

    It also doesn’t seem like they’re getting very good legal advice, either, with all these semi-public threats to sue and all these public allegations. Not only is that bad form, it’s a bad legal move unless – big unless here – they aren’t telling the whole truth and are trying to deliberately distort the facts in advance of whatever legal action they may ultimately take.

    It’s also not totally Kosher for the wife of one of the former owners to act like and speak as if she were one or both of the owners. If Steve and Tom Huling have something to say, it ought to be them saying it and not the wife of one of them.

  • seattle golfer October 3, 2007 (9:50 pm)

    It’s time for the Gee and Huling entities to hire professional public relations firms and remove themselves from the press, and yes this blog. Car dealerships in residential neighborhoods, spread out over prime real estate and surrounded by razor wire are not the highest and best use of the land or the community. The tax base of car sales pales in comparison to what could be the true essense of the West Seattle experience in the triangle district. With empty buildings proclaiming that anyone has enough credit to buy a car the Gee’s and the Huling’s have left a legacy of sub-prime neighborhood. Please, settle your differences in court and move on to a more appropirate location and venue for your proclamations of “respect”.

  • westwood October 3, 2007 (10:01 pm)

    I have to say I agree with seattle golfer. Although Huling Bros was a part of West Seattle life for many years, now that it is gone it is time to move the car dealerships out of the gateway to West Seattle and begin to develop housing and retail in the triangle with some of the best transit connections in West Seattle. We can drive to Burien to buy/service our cars.

  • Bob October 3, 2007 (10:33 pm)

    Yes! That’s what we need – more condo complexes and mega-box stores! Heaven forbid holier than thou WS have one of those car dealerships! We need Whole Foods! We need Office Depot! Lets develop every major junction in the area I say!

  • Sharon Huling October 3, 2007 (10:48 pm)

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I agree with all except for the one that says that it is not Kosher for a wife to speak out. I would also like to say that my comments are my own and not my husband’s or brother in law’s. One clarification; my husband, who read my statement in its entirety (after I submitted it) tonight at dinner at Endolyne Joe’s, reminded me that Cline did answer his call to Cline’s cell phone (Third point) but that he refused to speak to Steve. I apologize for this but was indeed present when the call was made from WS Target. I do not intend to clog the blog, but I thank WSB for the opportunity to be heard.

  • Keith October 4, 2007 (12:03 am)

    Since we’re doing the math in this case, it should also be noted that while three men were arrested and charged, the Times article described *six* Huling employees who “practically tripped over each other to be the first to steal the remaining cash.” And it’s unclear (from the article) whether one of the three men charged was even among those six – two where charged with stealing money from the man’s apartment, the third was charged for taking the man’s truck.

    And now, back to the spin cycle.

  • Kayleigh October 4, 2007 (5:24 am)

    I think companies earn their reputations, and if Huling’s reputation had been stellar *before* the crime, maybe people would have been more willing to accept the “bad apple” theory.

    I find it hard to believe the owners were unaware of the drug use and sociopathic behavior of their employees. And yes, I think it takes a sociopath to steal from someone that clearly vulnerable.

  • Dis October 4, 2007 (5:25 am)

    This is likely far more fascinating and compelling to the Huling and Gee families than it is to the general public. The Huling reputation was affected by the actions of the company’s employees, long before this current tussle. It’s actually very amusing to watch two used car dealerships battle for honor and honesty, of all things!

  • Cruiser October 4, 2007 (7:51 am)

    Well this is fun:) As Dis said car dealers claiming honesty! It doesn’t matter who I believe and I couldn’t care less about either of them. However I always thought that the Huling properties looked neglectled and gross just like Aurora. If your business is part of the community as they claim then why not spend some $$,plant some shrubs/trees around your property and at least pretend like you give a damn about your ‘community’.

  • David October 4, 2007 (8:26 am)

    Like it or not, that’s not a good car dealership location anymore. It’s too urban and too dense. The land is much better suited to small shops, apartments and the like. I know folks don’t like the ‘condo/townhouse’ transformation of that area, but it’s going to happen. That’s a high traffic, high use area, and it’s only going to get more dense unless folks start moving out of West Seattle in droves. IF you’re going to have mega-projects (6 story mixed use) that’s the ONE place in all of West Seattle you’d want it. Not on Alki, or similar smaller neighborhoods, but on what is already a dense high traffic area. It’s not exactly a peaceful nature reserve right now. :)

    And yes, the new dealership screwed up. I moved here 11 years ago and knew over time that Hurling was a ‘local’ company. But when the new folks took over, the ‘temp’ signs (draped over the old ones) and the “any credit is good” type signs just made it seems like one of those slick junk car dealers you see on mid Aurora Ave. They didn’t seem like “real” full dealership. Blame their marketing person I guess.

  • old timer October 4, 2007 (9:53 am)

    Maybe the real estate angle was the operating plan all along.
    What if the new owners were planning to close the place down and do development there? It is not a far reach, that’s a choice location.

    I have a hard time believing that after all this time, business went to zero so fast.

    This whole ‘scandal’ thing has many opportunistic potentials to it.

  • smikes October 4, 2007 (9:59 am)

    This may fly in the face of popular opinion, and be off point, but I’d like to comment on the WS development. Frankly, it seems WS is being ‘yuppified’ at an exceedingly faster rate with the townhouse/condo/box store implants. I chose/bought a home in WS ten years ago because it had a certain small town charm to it. A couple miles away is downtown to remind me of the big city I live in; yet WS was an oasis from that big city life. As the WS people density increase continues, that small town charm and ease is being replaced. Frankly, I didn’t mind the car lots, and some of the other older buildings around the area as it was the combinations of these items and others that gave one a sense of the history and atmosphere that WS has/had. I suppose the new megaplexes and coffee shops are a sign of the changing times. But who said all change was good? Yahhh, let’s hurry up and be just like Redmond, Bellevue, U-Village, Newcastle…

  • flipjack October 4, 2007 (10:04 am)

    I think they should change the dealership name to Hatfield and McCoys.

  • pickledeedee October 4, 2007 (10:26 am)

    Sharon Huling is very brave indeed, to stick her neck out while others can comment as viciously as they like under the cloak of anonymity.

    I thought her comments were very informative (it did not seem the press was giving a equal time to both sides of this issue).

    Very interesting about how the Gees were wanting them to “give” them the land as a concession. Does make you wonder about their ulterior motive.

  • Jiggers October 4, 2007 (10:37 am)

    More towhnomes and condos mean more rises in rent because they can charge an acidnine amount to you because its supply in demand. I don’t home a home and probably never will because I’m realstic in what I can afford unlike most people. I vote no on every levee that passes my way. Rent is outrageous. No more high end condos already. You can live in Hawaii for the same rental price I’m paying here now, and live in warm sunny weather all year long. Its ridiculous to pay high rental prices and live in cold weather.

  • JT October 4, 2007 (10:54 am)

    Everyone should take a look at Pasco’s Store the same thing is happening there. The old owners were selling over 150 cars last month they only sold 40… hmmm

  • Dis October 4, 2007 (11:39 am)

    Pickle – what is “very brave indeed” about defending your husband’s honor and his family name?????

  • pickledeedee October 4, 2007 (12:04 pm)

    Dis– I simply was saying I thought her brave to speak out in this kind of forum–and risk opening the flood gates of anonymous comment board attacks–
    However, I agree that defending one’s family honor is something that is a natural response for those of us who have tried to be responsible members of the community and love our families.

  • Kayleigh October 4, 2007 (12:14 pm)

    Brave? Oh, please. It’s a standard PR tactic to spin the “Aw, shucks, we’re just a family business” angle when a business gets bad PR.

    Sometimes when somebody spins for too long, they come to believe their own spin.

  • JW October 4, 2007 (1:47 pm)

    Just to follow up on the comments above and to add yet another 2cents to an overflowing till:

    I’m relieved that Gee is trying to sell, and I’m really hopeful that this won’t be a car lot anymore. Feel free to scream and yell about how the loss of a car lot means that good ol’ West Seattle is losing its down home roots, but…it’s not particularly nice to look at, and it could be anywhere. After crossing the bridge and taking in the view of the mountains and Sound, you enter W.S. and suddenly…it looks like suburban Dallas.

    And as long as it is a car lot, it’s not going to change. They’re not going to plant shrubs and pretty it up, because that would keep you from seeing the cars. And seeing the cars as you drive your car by is the whole point of a car lot.

  • JT October 4, 2007 (1:52 pm)

    I think every one needs PR agent! This is getting out of control.

  • Elizabeth October 4, 2007 (1:55 pm)

    My goodness, a lot of people are judgmental about something they couldn’t possibly know much about. But this seems to be the way disputes are handled nowadays. Whether it’s a business deal gone sour, someone developing a new project, someone converting a building to condos, or someone building a new home the neighbors don’t like, one side typically “goes on the attack” in the press (and the press typically gives more coverage to the “attacking” side because it’s more provacative). And despite the fact that most local press coverage we get is woefully inadequate, totally biased, or downright incorrect, the other side is forced to defend themselves publically. Isn’t this what we have courts, city committees, and the like for?

  • Huindekmi October 4, 2007 (9:01 pm)

    I love Gee’s comments regarding the straw poll. When they called me and asked if I would buy a car from Gee, I said ‘No’ but was very clear to point out that it was because they don’t carry any brands I’m interested in. The poller didn’t want to hear that. They even helped remind you of the bad press under Huling before asking if you remember anything about it. The questions were designed to achieve a specific result. To use that as a basis for a lawsuit is pure spin.

  • MG October 4, 2007 (9:04 pm)

    I purchased a used car from Huling 8 or 9 years ago and the sales staff were probably the sleaziest, most dishonest bunch of laughable fools I’ve ever had the misfortune of doing business with. My favorite line: “It was the old man’s pride and Joy”. Turns out it was used rental.

    A fish rots from the head down as they say.

  • westwood October 5, 2007 (7:23 am)

    Go to google maps, click on satellite, and look at the sheer amount of prime real estate that is taken up by Huling/Gee’s. Parts of over six blocks are covered by automobiles. This area is served by transit better than any part of West Seattle. This could be a dense, walkable urban hub with retail and apartments/condos above. Much of the growth in West Seattle could be accommodated here. This is a golden opportunity to create an attractive vibrant gateway to West Seattle where people don’t need to own a car. The time for huge car dealerships in residential areas is past. Burien’s auto row can easily serve our needs.

  • evan October 5, 2007 (9:04 am)

    This is nothing against Sharon or any members of the Huling family personally. I am sure they are nice people on a personal level, and I really appreciate Sharon speaking out on here and letting everyone know, in a truly public forum, what is happening from their end. That said, I don’t really feel that Huling Bros. reputation was that great to begin with. My experiences there looking for cars was not pleasant. The first time I did business I was trying to get a PT Cruiser, but a overbearing and very slimy salesman put an end to that deal real fast, and I wound up getting a used Chevy Tracker that was a bit of a lemon, that I wound up selling back and getting the PT Cruiser I wanted later after my divorce. That experience was ok except for the financing slimeball, but I had done all the footwork and knew what I wanted, and got a good deal. It was a necessary thing, there was no pressure but I can’t say it was a good experience. When Gee took over, the first thing that happened before their signs even went up was that I got a phone call from their service manager and sales manager telling me they had taken over the dealership from Huling, and that they were looking forward to doing business with me and the community, etc etc. I was all pretty much “fine whatever” but I was impressed with them reaching out to their previous customers in a way that Huling Bros never did, and I am disappointed that I won’t have the chance to see if their actual in person service backs up what they have told me on the phone and in letters. And honestly, the number one reason I did any business there to begin with was because they were in West Seattle. And I just happened to want a Chrysler. But if there is a business in West Seattle, corporate chain or not (preferably not) I would much rather give my business to them just because they are in my backyard and I want to support businesses in my community. Except for Petco. They can leave and never come back.

  • CARGUY77 October 5, 2007 (2:02 pm)

    Ok I can agree with most of this however i worked for both of them huling and gee and i can honestly say hulings management was far better.Not only did steve care about the community his actions backed it up.he gave the money back to the customer not gee.Plus he did many things to support local charity work south seattle community college scholorships and many auctions to raise monies for all kinds of things.we all make mistakes no one is perfect but i will say that steve and sharon are good people and do honestly care about what each and everyone of you think.and loves living in west seattle steve often tells me i didnt move i am still right in the same place i have always lived if i had something to hide dont you think i would have moved outta ws. think about that for a min. if you had all this going on with your family name wouldnt just be easy to remove yourself and move to say hawaii but no him and his family stayed anyways if you dont know them dont judge you always hear of all the bad deals let me tell you a good one.i helped a single mother who had been in a very bad sitution who was taking the bus with her newborn get into a 2006 chevy aveo and kept her payment under 200 dollars a month then helped her with insurance then picked her up at her house and brought her to the dealership where i had a big red bow placed on the car she was in tears this customer still contacts me from time to time and tells me i changed her life she now has a better job is stable and in a happy healthy lifestyle we are not all crooks as you see us please remember that there is good and bad in everything in this world. god bless thanks.

  • T.S. October 5, 2007 (3:58 pm)

    I agree with MG!!! My family bought a new van from Huling Bros about 12 years ago, and from the second we got on the lot, they took our truck – on the pretense to check it out for trade in value – and refused to return it to us. We were pressured to buy, and not allowed to leave (unless we walked home) until we bought the van. In the negotiations, we were quoted one price, including insurance, but the very next day were told they forgot to “carry the 1 when doing the math” and the payment would be $100 more a month. We found out a month after that – that insurance was NOT a part of the package – just the first months payment. I felt used, and even when the financing was not going thru, and we wanted to return the van, they had already sold our truck which was the trade in. A few years later I had the unfortunate experience to work there as a temporary receptionist, it was to be for 3 months while their current receptionist was on maternity leave. Mr. Huling himself called the temp agency and told them I was not to come back because he “didn’t like my paging voice” – a bogus excuse, as I was a professional with a great speaking voice. My temp agency apologized as it was obvious to them as it was to me, because I was not young, skinny and had the looks of a model, something they wanted for the main showroom floor. If Mr. Huling was so concerned about looks, he should have gotten rid of that ill fitting toupe he was wearing, and forget the blonde airhead bimbo model that was hanging around his neck……can we say MID LIFE CRISIS??!!??

  • dave October 6, 2007 (12:17 am)’s time for all the car dealerships to go. That land is WAY to valuable. Let’s hope the developers build some multi-use bldgs that are NOT UGLY (like sooo many new ones in WS), and create a TRUE GATEWAY to West Seattle.

    then again..I can NOT, for the life of me, figure out why QFC/Office Depot decided to build KNOWING that WholeFoods is coming.

    Of course…what I’d -really- like to see is more legitimate office space in some of the area where the car dealers are. That viaduct IS going to come down at some point, and it would be great to have a real business infrastructure in WS so we didn’t HAVE to cross the bridge.

    and, please…NO more Starubucks in WS..sheeeeesh.

  • Mike October 6, 2007 (8:12 pm)

    The best thing the Gee’s could have done is fired all of the sales team and the Service dept. management, and then advertised new management, and new sales team. My wife was never happy with service from the one car she purchased from Huling. The last time we shoped there under Huling, we left with my wife pissed!! It’s almost like they will force you to buy a car. Why does it have to be so difficult? And she was majorly pissed.

    When my dad stopped by to look at the new suburbans, he thought “boy was that high pressure”. He buys a new Suburban every two years, but not from Huling.

    When the news broke about the swindle, that was icing on the cake.

    I gave Gee a try just last month to check out a high end Jeep Grand Cherokee, the sales guy did nothing to show me what I asked for, I just had to buy this one car that he knew was perfect for me, so he thought. I asked for a brochure, thinking I’d read it on my own since he wasn’t going to show me more cars. When I went into the dealership, I saw the sale guy talking to the sales manager, and I thought here it comes… The high pressure sales crap!!! And boy it sure was. They should have fired the sales people.

    We ended up buying a Land Rover…

  • condo dweller October 6, 2007 (10:45 pm)

    It seems like the demise of the dealership is a good opportunity for the City, Chamber of Commerce, urban planners and interested WS residents to encourage a revitalization of the properties involved.

    For years we have heard that West Seattle needs an improved gateway to the community. Presently that natural gateway along Fauntleroy has all the charm of Aurora at its most unatractive spots.

    A well planned and managed mix of Commercial Residential buildings in the area surrounding the SW Alaska/Fauntleroy intersection would enhnace the gateway and increase the livability of the surrounding neighborhood.

    For years residents living near the dealerships have put up with cars parked all over the streets, loud-speaker paging and broadcast elevator music coming from the lots. There is nothing about razor wire, car lots, tacky flags and ballons, car hoods up with S A L E spelled out, windows painted with “Low Credit? No Credit? We can get you in a car” that in any way enhances the quality of life in the community.

    Both Huling and Gee were poor neighbors; no effort was made to beautify their properties or be considerate to the surrounding residents.

    My personal experience was that I took my car in for the 60,000 tune up at a cost of $1,000. Later I gave my car to my son. He found that the spark plugs in the car were ones installed at the factory.

    I am sorry, but neither party, Gees or Hulings need worry about the “bad press” in the media, they are quite capable of creating that all on their own.

  • Vio October 7, 2007 (7:05 pm)

    I have nothing against the Hulings, but I hope they realize that they are the single worst image problem for West Seattle, and I’m not talking about the criminal actions of staff. A car dealership at the entry to our wonderful community makes it look like SeaTac. I hope that the Hulings decide to start selling off their very valuable land for development that enhances our community. Now that would be civic… and profitable.

  • Paul Brewer October 1, 2008 (5:19 pm)

    I am a former employee of Huling Bros[twelve years]retired in the midwest. I am very sadden of all this but not necessarly for Steve and Sharon. You see, I was there for the best days of the late eighties and nineties when it was the professional organization that got the Gee’s interested in the first place. When they talk of the “storms” they [Hulings] whethered, we were the ones who did it. Back here, I still tell the priveledge I had working with the folks in the sales, service, parts, body shop, and yes the gals in the back office. Now I read the ugly sniping by a small few. What they did not know is that we took a Chevrolet point that had been run into the ground by two seperate out of state owners and brought up it’s image to a grand scale. I have stayed in touch with many of those people and the general emotion is betrayal to us also, not just the community. We had thousands of customers and never had the backlash that I am reading tonight. Gee Group, what a lame excuse!! Did anyone happen to mention that this business tough?
    I honestly can’t believe that Steve was withholding the info from you because he wasn’t that closely involved most the time anyway. In closing, I really miss you folks of my era.
    Paul Brewer
    Also to the folks who snipe, print your full name behind your message

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