SOUTHWEST NEWS (352)
Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana
Autobody News SouthWestern print edition is mailed to 7,000 body shops monthly
Marion Young, 42, of Texas, recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to charges that he operated a chiropractor’s office as a front for an auto insurance scam that bilked companies out of $1.2 million.
Authorities say he ran the defunct office in Bryan, TX, to create fraudulent bills for treatments that were never performed. Young also recruited alleged accident victims to be represented by a Bryan-area law firm. The fraudulent billing caused the insurance companies to issue settlement checks, with the proceeds split by Young and at least four other defendants.
Young, co-owner of Private Chiropractic Care, admitted he participated in the two-year conspiracy to defraud numerous auto insurance companies. He further admitted he operated Private Chiropractic Care clinic as a front to allow fraudulent chiropractic bills to be created for treatments which were never performed and then used as support for fraudulent settlement demand letters sent to auto insurance companies.
The Texas Independent Automotive Association held a class on training firefighters on hybrid vehicles and new models. The event was held and hosted by the Chevy dealership of TIAA member Tom Benson.
The goal of the class was to promote safety after a crash and 50 firefighters from the San Antonio, TX, area were in attendance. Charles Fogleman of General Motors Powertrain and Jim Mickle, GM Wholesale instructor, were the instructors for the class. Firefighters were trained how to properly respond to an accident scene and how to disable the car correctly to help passengers exit safely.
“Firefighters having knowledge about newer vehicles at the accident scene is vital to prevent the accident from having more damage,” said Charles Fogleman. “Not only to the vehicles but to vehicle’s occupants. With the advancements in vehicle technology, removing passengers can be dangerous if not done correctly. A prime example is airbags being deployed after the accident from the battery being connected.”
State Farm Insurance is building a big regional office campus in Richardson, TX, near State Hwy. 190. It is reported to become the largest office development in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Late last year, developer KDC said the State Farm office complex would be about 1.5 million square feet.
But in the almost six months since word of the project came out, the office complex has grown by almost another 1 million square feet, real estate sources say.
That will make it one of the largest corporate office projects ever built in the Dallas area–on par with the huge Electronic Data Systems headquarters built in Plano starting in the 1980s. A campus that size can easily house somewhere up to 8,000 workers.
General contractor Austin Commercial is building the State Farm project, the first phase of which will be ready in the fall of 2014.
The almost 10-acre project is being financed by J.P. Morgan Chase. Looking around Texas, only Exxon Mobil’s new Houston campus is bigger than the State Farm project.
Texas Franchise Tax Bill, Substitute House Bill 500, was recently placed on the General State Calendar and the bill could be addressed soon. Currently, automotive service and collision repair shops owned and operated by new or used car dealerships are taxed at half the rate used to tax independent automotive repair facilities doing identical work. The Texas state tax code classifies dealership sales as “retail” and allows their service and repair business to be included under that banner.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality offers body shops the opportunity to receive free voluntary consultations under the agency's Oklahoma Star program.
The consultations are part of the DEQ's outreach to auto body repair shops, a program that has many purposes, agency Environmental Program Specialist Patrick Riley said.
Visits with auto body shop managers increase awareness of regulatory requirements like the federal "auto body rule" that went into effect in 2011 as part of the Environmental Protection Agency's effort to reduce hazardous air pollutants.
Dale Tabaka of Dale’s Collision Repair, a San Antonio member of the TIAA (Texas Independent Automotive Association), was quoted in the local news. To read the story, "Reckless Repairs: Where are Car Parts Coming From," click here:
The Houston Auto Body Association will hold its 3rd Annual Body Shop Owner's and Manager's Appreciation Dinner on May 15 from 7-10 p.m. at the Cadillac Bar & Grill in Houston, TX. According to HABA president James Brown, the appreciation event is free, with food and beverages provided, and shop owners and managers do not need to be a member to attend. To RSVP, go to habaonline.org and see the "HABA news" section of the website.
The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association will meet on May 7 at noon at Louisiana Technical College's collision classroom. On the lunch menu is gumbo for $7 per person.
Guest speaker is Lee Jones of Kentwood Springs. Due to the heat we have here in the South, we all know the importance of staying hydrated. Lee is providing a very important resource - water. He is partnered with several well-known companies that provide quality beverages. He handles bottled water and coffee services and water filtration services as well. Every collision facility has some type of water service. Come and find out if you are getting the most service and best quality beverage for the price you pay.
In addition, the meeting will recap the recent SkillsUSA competition and the Automotive Repair Conference that was held in Biloxi, MS.
A business owner in Kirby, TX, was found on March 13, dead from stab wounds, behind his auto repair shop, Absolutely Affordable Repair off Ackerman Road. The victim was identified as Gary Weise, 43. According to Sgt. Michael Alonzo, Weise’s body was found by the victim’s brother behind Absolutely Affordable Repair. He had been stabbed several times and his throat was slashed. Alonzo said they were following up leads but they hadn’t identified any suspects.
“We’re still looking into the case,” Alonzo said. “We’re just going to go where the truth leads us right now and just see who basically wanted him dead.”
Family members reportedly hadn’t seen or heard from Weise for a few days. Around noon on March 13, the brother went to the repair shop to look for Weise and found his body outside by the back corner of the building. Investigators said it appeared the body had been outside for some time but they hadn’t determined when the crime occurred. Weise ran the shop alone and lived less than half a mile away, Alonzo said. No arrest has been made.
The Oklahoma state Department of Environmental Quality plans to expand its outreach at Tulsa auto body repair shops in an effort to make sure they are aware of requirements in the Autobody Rule.
The DEQ recently made the announcement it will be contacting facilities in Tulsa to see if they will voluntarily meet with DEQ staff. There is no charge for participation.
“Understanding environmental regulations can be challenging,” said pollution prevention program manager Dianne Wilkins. “Our goal with this outreach is to assist facilities with environmental compliance.”
One of the requirements is for all spray painting to be done in a spray booth. The rule also encourages the use of spray guns and techniques to reduce over-spraying, and other methods to prevent the release of any solvent mist.
DEQ began its outreach effort on the Autobody Rule last year focusing on facilities in the Oklahoma City area.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts recently opened Sheer Metal CARSTAR, its first location in Plano, TX.
Opened in 1958, the shop is owned by Grant D. MacQuilkan and managed by Esequiel Trejo. The shop is located at 903 J Place.
“CARSTAR helps us compete against the other collision repair chains with the market with their systems, training and vendor programs,” said MacQuilkan. “Add to that our now very unique ability to offer a nationwide warranty and our market has the best possible solution: top quality and guaranteed service provided by owners who personally care that you are taken care of well.”
As a member of the CARSTAR network, the shop will have access to CARSTAR’s management system, new repair technology, national warranties, and several corporately managed direct repair and purchasing programs.
“We are excited to see Grant MacQuilkan and Esequiel Trejo join the CARSTAR network,” said David Byers, CEO, CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts.