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Southeastern News

1HomePageMap small se 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia

On Feb. 13, a southern Florida court sentenced Jennifer Adams, 39, to a mandatory 54 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, the court ordered Adams to pay $1,920,424.83 in restitution, sending a strong message to insurance scammers.

Adams previously pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging her with conspiring with others to commit mail fraud for her role in a staged accident fraud scheme.

Hundreds of truck dealers stood up and cheered as Drew Linn, Jr., president of Southland International Trucks in Homewood, AL, accepted the national award for Truck Dealer of the Year.

During his acceptance speech, Linn commended his employees.

“We’re very proud of the entire dealership,” Linn said at the American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention and Expo. “It’s an accomplishment made possible by our 200 dealership employees.

“I spend more and more of my time coaching all these people, because the team’s getting bigger,” Linn said in remarks prior to the award presentation. “I love the interaction with customers, but I love even more the interaction with the people [with whom I work]. The older I get, the more gratifying it is to see them become successful.”

The award is co-sponsored by ATD and Heavy Duty Trucking magazine. Linn was selected from an elite group of truck dealers, including Steve Bacalis, president & CEO of Tom Nehl Truck Co. in Jacksonville, FL, who was named a finalist.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:32

Florida Tow Truck Driver Sued in Towing Fatality

The widow of a college dean killed when his car, being towed from his Florida home, ran him over, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the towing company. The tow truck driver is Kenneth Jay Schraff, 48, of Lauderdale Lakes.

Schraff was at the wheel of a wrecker Jan. 16 when Elias Konwufine of Lauderhill, an associate dean at Keiser University, fell under his own Mercedes-Benz. The 38-year-old father of three, a native of Cameroon, died later at a hospital.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:30

New Website for MCRA

The Mississippi Collision Repair Association is growing with 38 member shops. Their new website, www.mscra.net, is also up and running.

“We are planning a meeting to be held in the first quarter of this new year in advance of the convention on the coast in April,” said MCRA president John Mosley. Upcoming events include a weekend conference in Biloxi, MS, this April, in conjunction with Alabama’s new association, ALARISE. The two associations are currently planning the event.

GEICO has joined State Farm in seeking a gag order against Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, FL. Gunder is suing the insurers on behalf of his customers for intentional short pays and a variety of other alleged misdoings.

According to Gunder’s spokespeople, GEICO brought in legal co-counsel last week from Arizona, who immediately sent notice to Gunder’s attorney, Brent Geohagan, that they would be seeking a delay/continuance for several scheduled depositions and request the court to issue a gag order to stop Gunder from sharing his legal findings.

Marvin Windham is the Parts Director for Benchmark Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Birmingham, AL. Windham has been a parts manager since 1976 and his company sells about $14 million in total sales. Currently, they have about 15 customers in the Birmingham area who have remained on the State Farm PartsTrader pilot program.

“We receive fax-only orders from PartsTrader for these customers. We didn’t sign up with PartsTrader, even though Birmingham was one of the first pilot cities,” Windham said.

Windham believes that PartsTrader offers no benefits to the repairer or supplier.