USA Today Claims Several Agencies Investigating Charges That Kelly Motorcycle Dealership Sold Unsafe Vehicles; Chattanooga Dealer Denies Allegations

Monday, October 29, 2012

A USA Today article claims that Chattanooga auto dealer Tim Kelly sold unsafe motorcycles at his Southern Honda Powersports.

Mr. Kelly, whose family has long been in the auto business here, denied the charges, terming them "utter balderdash."

He said, "Safety is our first priority."

The probes were apparently mainly instigated by a former Kelly employee, Ernest "Pug" Vickers. He was hired as a Kelly marketing consultant despite the fact that he and another man had been convicted on federal charges of misapplying the funds of the Carroll County Bank in Huntingdon, Tn., making false statements in connection with the bank's loans; making false entires in the bank's records and aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. Secs. 656, 1014, 1005, 2.

Another Kelly employee took him to General Sessions Court over alleged threats, and dealer Kelly eventually fired him.

The article says the investigations are being carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nashville and the Tennessee Attorney General's office.

It says the claims that the dealership sold "hundreds to thousands" of motorcycles that were under recall are being made not only by Vickers, but by other ex-employees.

David Ray Tyler, who worked at Southern Honda from mid-2006 to January 2008, claimed motorcycles were not properly assembled and that he signed safety forms though he was not certified to do so.   

Deano Swims and a former general manager gave similar statements.

Bill Savino of American Honda told the newspaper that Pug Vickers had a "vendetta" against Tim Kelly.


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