A car dealership in Ellenville, NY, is suing an HBO production company for $8 million after the location was destroyed by a massive fire after being used as a set for the television series "I Know This Much To Be True," according to the Record Online.
The series stars Mark Ruffalo. The lawsuit was filed by 613 Automotive Group and issued to Calling Grace Productions due to negligence.
Just after midnight May 9, 2019, a fire erupted at the dealership and completely engulfed the 10,000-square-foot facility while torching dozens of vehicles.
Some of the cars were owned by the dealership, while others were antiques put in place by the production company to use on set.
According to the source, the Ulster County fire officials could not be reached to update the reason for this fire that broke out last year.
Levi Hecht, co-owner of 613 Automotive Group, told the Journal during a conference call the impact from the fire was devastating financially, and they are still feeling it more than a year after the tragic situation.
"The business, basically, almost fell apart," he said. "We're holding on by a thin string to keep this alive financially and physically."
The other owner of 613 Automotive Group, 87-year-old Aaron Weingarten, said, "They're stretching me out. They want to outlast me. I'm 87 years old. I hope that I can settle this while I'm still on earth."
While HBO has not responded to the Journal, Weingarten confirmed his company is an insured party for $3 million and is suing for $8 million in damages.
According to the report, the fire was started due to a transformer being used to charge camera batteries. Just one person was said to be on site during this time, a security guard who fell asleep and woke to explosions caused by the fire, and was able to escape unharmed.
More than 30 classic collector cars worth more than $1 million, along with $10 million in gear such as cameras, lenses and other production equipment, were completely destroyed by the blaze.
After spending $200,000 to clean up all debris after the fire, the dealership was left "destitute." According to the source, the dealership has yet to be compensated anything by Calling Grace, and they were also forced to cut eight jobs because of the fire.
About 14 vendors and subcontractors with connection to the production company have been investigating the fire.
Court paperwork shows the dealership is also suing because of a breach of contract, and the fire "resulted in insured, uninsured and underinsured damages."
Even more, the agreement between both parties specified if Calling Grace had the dealership dislodged for more time than contracted, it would pay $1,750 per day, and if cars were not returned to the location, it would pay $1,000, charges that are continuously collecting to this day.
Having wrapped up the six-part HBO series June 14, the production for "I Know This Much To Be True" brought 260 full-time jobs, along with boosting the local economy by more than $15 million.
Series production started in October 2018 in the Hudson Valley, and plans included 28 days, with five days set aside for filming at 613 Automotive Group dealership, nestled on Main Street in Ellenville.
Sadly, the massive blaze burnt those plans, causing the dealership to relocate to another spot in town. The original location is still vacant, and both owners hope to rebuild.
What started out as excitement for the HBO production to use their dealership as a hot spot for the show turned into devastation once the large fire destroyed everything at the site.