AG: Car fraud need to be addressed

Dusty Old Cars sales offer a nonstarter

Staff photo by DAMIEN FISHER One of the several garage doors at Dusty Old Cars on Airport Road.The company's warehouse contains close to 400 vehicles.

NASHUA – The offer from a New York bank to buy out controversial classic car dealership Dusty Old Cars doesn’t satisfy the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

James Boffetti, the assistant attorney general investigating Dusty Old Cars and its owner, Stephan Condodemetraky, said last week’s $1.5 million offer from Reich Brothers doesn’t do anything to address the multiple instances of fraud involved in the business.

“We’ve uncovered significant, persistent fraud here,” Boffetti said.

The business filed for bankruptcy protection in February amid the AG’s investigation into more than 100 complaints from people who consigned their cars to Condodemetraky. The former customers have said Condodemetraky charged them for bogus repairs, that he forged signatures on car titles in order to take ownership and that when the cars were sold, they were paid a fraction of what was owed – if they were paid at all.

“Those people have a right to some restitution here, a right to some justice,” Boffetti said.

The bankruptcy court-appointed trustee, Michael Askenaizer, had the court change the bankruptcy filing from a chapter 11 protected reorganization to a chapter 7 liquidation. Askenaizer testified that Condodemetraky hid and destroyed financial records, making operating the business impossible.

Boffetti said Monday that Condodemetraky underreported the number of creditors in his initial bankruptcy filing, and that there are between 50 and 80 more people who are owed money that originally reported.

The Reich Brothers sales agreement, which expires Tuesday, doesn’t state that Condodemetraky is directly involved in the purchase, although he has previously tried to buy the company out of bankruptcy with a loan from Reich Brothers. Instead, the agreement states it will use Condodemetraky as the sole employee of the company. Also, the deal requires a letter from the Attorney General’s Office stating that it won’t engage in adverse legal action against Condodemetraky.

Boffetti said the sales offer is meant to distract the people who consigned their cars from the fraud by dangling the possibility of some payment.

“In my opinion, this is simply a smokescreen,” Boffetti said.

Former customer Jeffrey Maniff says he lost more than $50,000 to Condodemetraky after he entered into an agreement to sell his classic car collection through Dusty Old Cars. Maniff said at least 10 of his cars have been sold, and he has been paid a fraction of the sales prices. He supports the Reich Brothers sale if it means he and the other victims will get some of the money owed, despite the protections the sales agreement seeks for Condodemetraky.

“Stephan will eventually and inevitably do this again,” Maniff said. “But next time, he may cross the wrong person and find out that there are, in fact, consequences to your actions. But at this juncture, it would be nice to just be paid off and walk away.”

A hearing in the bankruptcy case is scheduled for Thursday in the federal court complex in Manchester.