A Tulsa auto dealership and the family that owns it struck back in court filings at a company that filed a $46 million lawsuit against them, calling the allegations in the suit “a pack of lies and misrepresentations,” and counter-suing the company and its president.
The Jim Glover on the River dealership, along with Claremore Automall LLC, owner Jim Glover, his daughter Kristen Glover and son Jared Glover, along with Jim Glover employees Steve Harrison and Holly Allen were sued in April by the Dallas-based Roundtree Autogroup LLC and Tulsa C Properties LLC.
Glover’s dealership is one of the top vehicle dealerships in the state, Glover’s attorney told The Frontier. Its commercials have been ubiquitous in the Tulsa media market, with commercials and other marketing material often prominently featuring Kristen Glover and Jared Glover as well as Jim Glover himself.
Roundtree purchased the Jim Glover Chevrolet dealership in Tulsa located at 8130 E. Skelly Dr. in July 2017 from Glover, who had owned the dealership for 17 years. That dealership is now known as Route 66 Chevrolet.
Shortly after the sale, Glover’s company purchased another dealership location at 707 W. 51st St. in Tulsa, court and land records show, though Glover had been operating a dealership — Jim Glover Chevrolet on the River — at the location since mid-2016 through a lease, according to court records.
Roundtree, which owns numerous automobile dealerships around the country, alleges in its suit that the defendants committed fraud, civil conspiracy, interference with contract and business relations, misappropriation of trade secrets, deceptive trade practices and numerous breaches of contract, and that once the sale was finalized, the Glovers and former employees at Glover who stayed at the dealership sabotaged the dealership.
According to the lawsuit, the former Glover employees took down the dealership’s Jim Glover Chevrolet sign and didn’t replace it for months, gave away or destroyed all merchandise with the Jim Glover Chevrolet name on it, stole Route 66 customer information, stole promotional ideas and other dealership information and passed them on to Jim Glover on the River. The suit also states that Glover violated a non-competition agreement that prohibited him from hiring employees who worked at Route 66 Chevrolet for three years.
However, in their responses to the suit filed in Tulsa County District Court on June 4, the Glovers and two employees being sued allege that Roundtree’s suit not only contains falsehoods, but is an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over Glover’s new dealership.
Roundtree “maliciously designed and intended the Petition to grab press headlines to wrongfully smear the Glover family’s good name, and to cover up their own misconduct,” Jared and Kristen Glover’s response states. Roundtree “intentionally concealed from the Court, and the public, the true nature of the deal they struck with the Glovers.”
According to the filing, Roundtree knew about the Jim Glover on the River dealership, knew that it would be competing with the Roundtree dealership, and that the only reason the dealership was sold to Roundtree was because the company and its president Matt Stinson had told Jim Glover that the dealership’s general manager Steve Harrison, who is also a defendant in the suit, and other long-time Glover employees would remain there to run it.
Harrison was fired about four months after the purchase and rehired at Jim Glover on the River, though Roundtree alleges Harrison was fired for attempting to sabotage its dealership.
Glover and Harrison both met with Stinson prior to the sale, and Glover did not want Roundtree to “fire his longtime employees, leaving them out in the cold,” the responses state. However, many of those long-time employees were terminated after the sale, around two weeks before Christmas, the Glovers’ countersuit states.
The responses filed for Claremore Autogroup, the Glovers, Harrison and Holly Allen (who ran advertising for both dealerships for a time) deny any wrongdoing or working to sabotage the dealership, calling the allegation “a scurrilous lie.” Rather, the defendants say it was Roundtree and Stinson’s own decisions that caused the dealership’s performance to decline.
“After Plantiffs’ business plan didn’t work out the way they had hoped, Plaintiffs suffered buyer’s remorse,” Jared and Kristen Glover’s response states. “Instead of acting honorably, and competing fairly, Plaintiffs fabricated this sensationalized and misleading lawsuit to maliciously attack the Glover family’s good name, and to use the lawsuit as a marketing tool.”
Though the dealership remained one of the top performing Chevrolet dealerships in the state a few months after the sale, the performance began to decline, the court filings state. Unhappy at the dealership’s performance, Roundtree allegedly launched a “malicious three prong deceptive and unfair trade campaign designed to disparage the goods, services, business of the Glovers, including Jared and Kristen,” the counterclaim filed by the Glovers against Roundtree and Stinson state.
Those three prongs allegedly were:
- Make, promote, authorize or encourage “disparaging, false, and defamatory statements to employees, actual and potential customers, and the public, about the Glovers’ business integrity and business practices.”
- Create “an elaborate false narrative” about the Glovers conspiring with Harrison to sink the dealership and promoting that narrative in the media.
- Using the lawsuit to promote the false narrative by directing employees and customers to the suit as “proof” of the Glovers’ alleged dishonest business practices.
The counterclaims by Jared and Kristen Glover allege that Roundtree used unfair trade practices against them, defamation/slander, abuse of process, breach of the “goodwill” agreement entered into by Roundtree and Glover by damaging the Glover family name, numerous breaches of contract and violation of copyright law.
Part of those breach of contract counterclaims involve the use of the Glover name in a way not authorized by the sale agreement and disparaging the Glover name in violation of the agreement.
The counterclaims also accuse Roundtree of selling damaged vehicles without disclosing the damage to customers, retaining customer rebates without disclosing the rebates to the customer or lending institutions, running credit reports on customers without their consent, opening new lines of credit under “Jim Glover Chevrolet” but failing to pay the vendors on time, reporting false information to banks on vehicle sales, and promoting a $10,000 drawing but never awarded the prize to anyone.
The counterclaims against Stinson states that Roundtree’s investors put “enormous personal pressure” on Stinson when the dealership did not perform as expected, due to Stinson and Roundtree’s own actions, the counterclaims state.
“…instead of taking responsibility for his own decision-making, Stinson (or others acting under his direction and control) fabricated an outrageous lie — that the Glovers conspired with Mr. Harrison to sabotage the Dealership after sale — to cover up and excuse his own poor management decisions,” according to the counterclaims from Jared and Kristen Glover, which seek damages from Stinson for abuse of process and unfair trade practices.
Claremore Autogroup’s counterclaims against Stinson seek damages for deceit (for the firing of long-time Glover employees after assurances to Glover they would not be fired after the sale), constructive fraud and abuse of process. Harrison’s counterclaims also seek damages against Stinson for assurances allegedly made prior to the sale.