June 29, 2010
A Salisbury, Connecticut, vintage car business and its owner have been ordered to pay a total of $140,295 in restitution to consumers and civil penalties and court costs to the state.
The court found that Arthur Glen Kurrus of Falls Village and his business, Paradise Garage, also known as Evolution Motor Sports, LLC:
Disposed of vehicles without permission;
Misrepresented the condition, year, mileage and specifications of cars for sale;
Failed to turn over sales proceeds;
Billed for unauthorized repairs.
"Instead of paradise, Kurrus' business was hell -- a vintage vehicle black hole that consumed cars and cash," said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who sued Kurrus and his company in 2007.
The court ordered Kurrus to pay four consumers $100,134 in restitution, as well as $27,500 in civil penalties and $12,661 in court costs to the state.
Consumers big winners
Blumenthal called the court's decision "a victory for consumers defrauded and deceived by Kurrus, compelling him to pay more than $100,000 in damages and refunds."
According to the AG, Kurrus sold cars without permission, failed to provide proceeds, charged consumers for unauthorized repairs and grossly misrepresented vehicle condition, mileage and other vital information. One consumer purchased from Kurrus a supposed 1961 Jaguar in good condition only to receive a rusted, damaged 1963 model needing major motor work.
"Kurrus betrayed his customers, turning their cool ride dreams into nightmares" said Blumenthal. "They entrusted expensive automobiles to Kurrus only to see them repaired and sold without their permission, and even disappear."
The court ordered restitution to consumers in the following amounts:
$50,000 to William Cooling Jr. of New York, N.Y. Around 2003, Cooling's father hired Kurrus to restore a 1950s Jaguar XK, but the vehicle disappeared. Kurrus eventually agreed to pay Cooling $50,000, but never provided the money;
$19,724 to Simon Pinniger of Aspen, Col. In 2003, Pinniger verbally authorized Kurrus to perform about $20,000 in repairs to a 1959 Jaguar, but Kurrus later attempted to charge him more than $71,000. Pinniger never agreed to additional work. The restitution returns Pinniger's payments beyond the originally agreed upon $20,000;
$14,410 to Charles Moore of Dripping Springs, Tex. In 2006, Moore bought a Jaguar from Kurrus on eBay for $14,900. The eBay ad said it was a 1961 model with a 3.8-liter engine in good working order, special carburetors and no rust. When Moore received the vehicle, he determined it was a 1963 with a 2.4-liter motor needing ring and valve work, regular carburetors and a damaged and severely rusted body. Kurrus offered to resell the car on eBay correctly listing the information. In fact, he corrected only the year and never resold the car or refunded Moore's money;
$16,000 to Frank O'Brien of New Jersey. Around 2002, Kurrus sold O'Brien a 1967 Austin Healy. Kurrus told O'Brien the car's mileage was 38,558 when in fact it was 87,764, and that he owned the vehicle, which he did not.
Blumenthal said that the state is seeking an order permitting sale of two Porsches seized from Kurrus to help provide restitution to consumers.
Kurrus also faces criminal charges.