Plumber Sues AutoNation Ford Store After ISIS Photo

December 14, 2015 5 Comments

A plumber is suing a Ford Dealership after his former company vehicle showed up in a photo being used by suspected terrorists.

Mark-1 Plumbing, owned by Mark Olberholtzer from Galveston County, Texas, is suing AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston, TX after a trade-in he sold to the store ended up with a photo with masked individuals believed to be terrorists. The, photo, which has made the rounds on social media and even the last airing of the Colbert Report, shows the 2005 Ford F-250 Olberholtzer used for his business being used by masked individuals who appear to be firing an large high-powered gun mounted in the bed of the truck. The decals for Mark-1 Plumbing as well as the phone number for the business remain on the truck as it appears to be used for some sort of combat, presumably overseas. Another photo of the vehicle shows three men, one of them masked sitting in the same Mark-1 Plumbing truck with a clearer view of the large gun in the bed of the truck.

Olberholtzer is suing AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway because he says the photos of his vehicle have ruined his business and his life. According to the NY Post, Olberholtzer reports having received numerous phone calls with death threats, in which he was called a “traitor” or “terrorist” for his alleged connection to the vehicle being used by suspected terrorists.

Olberholtzer traded in the vehicle to Ford Gulf Freeway store in November of 2013. In the lawsuit, Olberholtzer alleges he began to take off the decals which show his business name and contact info while trading in the vehicle, however, the dealership employee he was working with at the time told him doing so would ruin the paint and to let the dealership handle that task later on. The truck was sold at auction on November 11, 2013 and on December 18, 2013, the truck was exported Houston, Texas and imported to Mersin, Turkey.

Do you think the dealership is responsible for what happened to the plumber’s truck after they sold it? The lawsuit alleges the store was supposed to take off the decals of Olberholtzer’s business, could that alleged act alone justify $1,000,000 in damages?

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.
    Gloria

    I think the bigger question is how did Isis get this truck

    Tim S.

    $1,000,000 for damages, based on what? Certainly he is entitled to something. But can he really prove that he is now suffering those kind of losses or damage to his reputation. Is somebody really going to avoid doing business with him because his name and number ended up in the video. In fact, it might bring extra recognition to his business and yes an increase in customers (he’s apparently the victim after all). This may be a case of all news is good news. I don’t think anyone is going to think he’s a terrorist. Just another lawyer trying to line their pockets.
    If he doesn’t accept an out of court settlement for substantially less, HE will look like the one profiteering off the video.

    Jay Yoo

    Wow..that is messed up. We have a policy to remove all decals before it the car goes off our lot.
    I would never have imagined that, that scenario would ever happen.

    Randy Taylor

    I believe he left his info on the truck, hoping the next owner wouldn’t remove it and he’d receive some free advertising. This will be interesting.

    If the dealership stated that they would remove said decals then yes there is liability on their part. No doubt that this client has been seriously affected (in a negative fashion) by all of this. Not sure what the cost can be for this kind of ‘oops’ but yes there should be some form of restitution.