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Terminated dealers may see critical e-mails

by Bill Cawthon on

Two former Chrysler dealers who lost their franchises last year may get to see company e-mails that included personal criticisms like “too litigious” which may have unfairly influenced termination decisions.

If U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez follows his initial reaction, transcripts of previously sealed Chrysler LLC e-mails will be furnished to Jim Tarbox of North Kingstown, Rhode Island and Mark Calisi of Riverhead, New York, both of whom have appealed their terminations to the federally mandated arbitration process. Judge Gonzalez has given Chrysler until today to formalize an offer to allow Tarbox and Calisi to see the e-mails if they agree to a confidentiality agreement prohibiting them from sharing the information with others.

Chrysler has also offered to share the evaluation charts it used in determining which dealers would be terminated. The charts include more than thirty metric covering performance and finances. Terminated dealers are claiming that Chrysler unfairly used personal opinions, like those claimed by Tarbox and Calisi, in its selection process.

Chrysler had no official comment.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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