Ferrari Dealer Tried To Cover Up Customer's $240,000 458 Spider Crash: Lawsuit

The San Antonio dealer is accused of pressuring a customer into selling their car before admitting it had been crashed.

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A Texas businessman says he trusted Ferrari of San Antonio to sell his 458 Spider on consignment for a hefty payday. But after a dealership employee crashed and totaled the car—as dealerships are wont to do—he filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and fraud. The dealer, of course, has a very different story. 

The sordid tale is found in the San Antonio Express-News, which reports Ryad and Diana Bakalem are suing Ferrari of San Antonio for allegedly totaling their Ferrari 458 Spider and then keeping the crash a secret. Furthermore, the suit claims that the dealership pressured the couple to sell their car at a lower price than previously agreed.

The story says the Bakalems dropped off their white 458 Spider to be sold on consignment with Ferrari of San Antonio in late 2019. The couple and dealership management agreed to sell the car for $240,000 and left the vehicle with the dealership for several months whilst they awaited a sale, and ultimately their fat check in the mail.

On Nov. 26, the dealer reached out to the Bakalems to inform them that a client had offered to purchase the vehicle for $220,000. The couple reportedly did not immediately accept the offer, and that's when things began to get shady. The lawsuit claims that the couple was "continually pressure[d]" by the dealership over the next several days to accept the offer. The Bakalems accepted an offer later that month—and that's when they discovered that the client looking to buy the car was actually Ferrari of San Antonio itself.

On Nov. 29, the dealership sent electronic paperwork to Diana Bakalem to finalize the deal. The couple's lawyer alleges that within the next hour, the dealership revealed that the car had been wrecked four days prior to the sale.

The story says the couple came to learn that an employee of the dealership had driven the car "on a not-approved path" and lost control, sending the 458 into a chain-link fence and a porter looking for a new job. There was reportedly no mention of this event in the paperwork sent to the Bakalems prior to the sale of the vehicle.

“This was done for the purposes of covering up (the dealership’s) negligence, defrauding plaintiffs, collecting a sales commission, collecting a tax credit, and/or collecting insurance monies on the wrecked vehicle post-sale,” the Bakalems said.

“The wreck had been deliberately concealed to close the deal,” they added.

Of course, this wasn't how the dealership saw the chain of events.

General Manager Grenville Lewis told the Express-News the car was indeed crashed by a dealership porter who was later terminated. But Lewis said he believes that he was doing a good deed by offering to pay what "what was agreed." He said a buyer stepped up to offer $220,000 for the car before the crash, netting the couple about $210,000, which they agreed to. 

From the story:

But after telling Bakalem about the accident, Lewis said, “he didn’t want to take (the deal). He thought with the wreck, it gave him some leverage that I should pay him more. He has a new piece of information and he’s … just trying to extort even more money than his original agreement to sell the car.

“I tried to do the right thing and continue to pay them what was agreed,” Lewis said.

The Bakalems are now seeking damages as high as $1 million from Ferrari of San Antonio, alleging that the act of covering up the wreck before the sale constitutes fraud and negligence. 

Ryad Bakalem is a South Texas businessman who specializes in real estate and other land-related private ventures along the U.S.- Mexico border. Bakalem, along with business partners Juan Sanchez and Rafael Chacon, has invested heavily in migrant detention centers along the southern border. According to a December 2018 article by the New York Times, the Southwest Key Programs organization they were tied to has housed more migrant children than any other in the nation.

The Drive reached out to Ferrari of San Antonio for additional comment and will update our story when we hear back.

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