We couldn’t get the lawsuit document online from King County Superior Court — too fresh, they said, check back in a few days — but we were able to get it just moments ago from Gee Automotive’s PR firm, and have uploaded it to our server. Click here to read it (12-page PDF). We will be reading it along with you. (Also a reminder if you missed it last night, we posted a lengthy statement from Sharon Huling regarding some of the accusations that already had appeared publicly, pre-lawsuit.) 5:35 PM UPDATE: If you don’t have the time or inclination to read the whole suit (actually fairly brief as such things go), here are a few random notes from our first readthrough:
First, note that the Hulings now have a certain period of time in which to file their official response in court; when that is made public, we will post it here as well.
Notes from the Gee lawsuit, in the meantime. Again, this is all according to the lawsuit documents filed yesterday in King County Superior Court (and linked above):
–Demands that the Hulings take back the dealerships, refund the purchase price, and be ordered to pay damages of at least $7 million, along with the usual court/legal costs requested in lawsuits
–Names the four Huling employees who allegedly also sought to steal from the victim in the criminal case that sparked all this (we will be checking later if any of them ever have faced charges in this – they have not been named in recent reports)
–Claims Seattle Police initiated their investigation of the case in late October ’06
–Claims Seattle Police first met with Steve Huling on November 2 at his home, and that then-Huling general manager Chris Banchero also was there
–Claims police met with Huling and/or employees at least nine other times in November 2006
–Claims Steve Huling called his lawyer during the November 2 meeting with police and the next day called Adrian Dillard (awaiting trial in the criminal case) and fired him by phone (the lawsuit goes on to claim Dillard’s wife was in labor when this phone firing happened)
–Claims the personnel files of all employees allegedly involved in the ripoff don’t mention anything about it, not even Adrian Dillard’s, despite what the lawsuit describes as the “dramatic circumstances of his firing”
–Claims Steve Huling’s e-mails to managers had been erased from dealership computers’ hard drives before the Gee takeover
–Claims the public scorn resulting from the filing of charges after the Gee takeover included members of the public doing the following: “some threw bricks at the Huling dealership, and others honked and shouted obscenities at Gee employees”
–Claims the dealership has not had a profitable quarter since the takeover
Again, the entire document is linked here. We have e-mailed the Hulings to ask if they have any further comment prior to whatever official response is filed in court, and we will of course let you know if we hear back. 8:45 PM UPDATE: Nothing on that yet but the Times has now posted a story reporting that the Hulings are suing to evict the Gees. We’ll be on the lookout for that paperwork.