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One 'Moore' time.

One |Moore' Time

Junker Of A Deal Uncovered In $12 Million Moore Bankruptcy Heap

Ford Motor Credit and Twin City Bank account for almost $10 million of the $12 million in debts listed in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed last week by One Moore Ford. But the "big guys" aren't the only ones who stand to lose.

"I've called over there, and they've just said |get in line,'" says Johnny Crockett of Metropolitan Motors in Mabelvale.

Crockett, a used car wholesaler, and Terry and Julie Dickerson, a young couple from Gurdon, have apparently been stung by Moore Ford in a strange scenario. The deal left Crockett with a title but no truck and no cash, and left the Dickersons with a truck, but no title and no cash.

Repeated phone calls to Moore Ford were not returned.

Add this to the "a funny thing happened on the way home from the car dealer" list, which includes a lady unable to cash a Moore Ford check for $520 that was a refund of her cash deposit on a car, and the man who won a Hyundai from the dealership in a radio promotion that he has yet to receive -- more situations the "little guy" is hoping can be sorted out in the bankruptcy courts.

A Different Kind Of Lemon

Metropolitan Motors buys used cars, usually from new car dealers, and sells them to other new car dealers or at auctions. "Once in a while, we retail one," says Crockett.

In late November 1990, Crockett came across a gray 1989 Ford Extended Cab Ranger. He wholesaled it to One Moore Ford for resale on their used car lot on Saturday, Nov. 24.

Moore Ford gave Crockett a bank draft for $6,800 in payment for the vehicle. Crockett's bank sent the draft, which included the title, for collection but it came back marked insufficient. So, Crockett has the title back but no money and no truck.

Couldn't Crockett just demand the truck back from Moore? Maybe, except that on the evening of the same day he sold it to Moore, the Dickersons drove it home.

After truck shopping all day, the Gurdon couple, both in their twenties, ended up at One Moore Ford where they traded in a 1986 Lariat for the vehicle in question. They put down a deposit and the equity in their vehicle and financed the difference through Ford Motor Credit.

Early the next week, the Dickersons got the truck inspected and went to the revenue office to get it licensed, where they were told they couldn't get a license without a title.

When the Dickersons called Moore about the problem, they were told by an employee, Dee Holder, that the title was tied up at the bank and they should have it in a couple of days.

Thirty days later the title still hadn't appeared, and the truck inspection had expired as well as the grace period for obtaining a license. The Dickersons called Moore Ford again. Again, they were told the title was still at the bank.

"I've been keeping a log of my phone calls," says Julie Dickerson. "I made 13 calls to Moore Ford in one day before I got a call back."

In late December, the Dickersons decided to take money out of their savings and pay off the truck. The check to Ford Motor Credit (more than $7,000) soon cleared. Unfortunately, this was just before they got a phone call from Johnny Crockett, who filled them in on the rest of the story.

According to the Dickersons, Crockett has told them he doesn't want the truck back; he wants to get his money from Ford Motor Credit or Moore.

"He made me feel a lot better about it," says Mrs. Dickerson.

"In Suspense"

Now, the Dickersons are out the cash and the title, but they are driving the truck, which was licensed through a procedure called "to be put in suspense." This procedure is used when a piece of documentation is absent from the application file. Although the problem should be cleared up ASAP, says a Suspense Unit supervisor, the tags will not be renewed unless the file is out of suspense.

The Dickersons have just hired a lawyer to represent them, but Crockett says he'll wait before taking any legal action.

An attorney, who asked not to be identified, says the Dickersons should find relief under the Bankruptcy Code. "They bought the vehicle in good faith and there was never an indication there was a problem with the title. If they don't get title to the vehicle, they have been defrauded."

Another attorney says the Dickersons might be able to ask for an "objection to discharge" which essentially means "don't let Moore get out of fixing this because...".

While the legal maneuverings remain to be seen, one can be assured the situation is not pleasant for anyone involved and a great deal, financially and emotionally, hinges on the outcome.

"It has just made us sick," says the soft-spoken Julie Dickerson. "After seeing the bankruptcy on the news, I couldn't sleep for wondering where we stand."

PHOTO : TRUCK TITLE MIX-UP: Terry and Julie Dickerson of Gurdon bought a used truck from Moore Ford but never received the title, one of the smaller problems that will have to be addressed in Moore Ford's $12 million bankruptcy petition.
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Title Annotation:One Moore Ford bankruptcy petition
Author:Ford, Kelly
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jan 21, 1991
Previous Article:Radio Watch.
Next Article:A new shingle.

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