Parts, Labor and Lawsuits: Customers take local mechanic to court

Investigative

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox tracks down a mechanic accused of taking customer’s money, but not fixing their cars.

His name is Carl Gray, and he owns King Carl’s Auto Repair in Chesapeake

Several customers told 10 On Your Side that King Carl promised to fix their cars at a discounted price.

Several customers told 10 On Your Side that King Carl promised to fix their cars at a discounted price, but after waiting months, and sometimes years for repairs, customers say their cars weren’t fixed — and they were out thousands of dollars.

King Carl said if customers aren’t happy with his repairs, they can take him to court, which they did and they won, but according to victims they received nothing. 

We began our search for Carl Gray at the former site of King Carl’s Auto Repair, where we found several abandoned cars ordered to be 
towed away by order of Chesapeake Police.

“This car use to be owned by Mr. Carl,” says Gabrielle Riggins, whose family was friends with Carl until he, according to court documents, took their money and didn’t do the work as promised on Riggins’ 2002 Honda Civic. 

“To pay $2,500 up front, and a year later I had no car. I was out of my money, was chasing him down, having to take him to court,” Riggins said. 

Riggins took King Carl to court, he showed up, and in the end the judge ruled against Riggins for $2,500 in a judgment and told Carl: “He told him ‘you took the car, you agreed to fix it, you took her money, obviously what you charged her is what you agreed to fix the car. Give her her money back and give her her car,’ that’s what he told King Carl… he told me he would pay me in a week, months came another year came and nothing.”

“I took him the $2,600 dollars and he never did another thing,” says 
King Carl’s other former family friend Brenda Betts, who took him 
a 1978 antique Mercedes Benz convertible. She went to King Carl like her husband did before he died.

Betts went to court with proof of what she paid, the checks totaling $3,400.

“Carl talked to the judge and he could see right through him, and gave me a judgment,” Betts said.

In the end, Carl was ordered to pay $3,400 plus interest, and Betts remembers exactly what the judge told King Carl.”He said ‘You owe her this money, and her car.’ He didn’t say a thing after that.” Betts got nothing but $250 from a junk dealer for parts.

Riggins and Betts are not alone. We found at least 14 judgments against King Carl totaling more than $100,000. Betts told us, “He just kept on moving, and I couldn’t find him, and I just gave up.”

They may give up, but 10 On Your Side won’t. We went looking for Carl and were told he is storing cars at Barry Pryer’s place.

“I know King Carl. I know who he is. He has some cars stored here. A lot of people are looking for him. He owes me money too,” Pryer said, who would later confirm once we started poking around, King Carl paid up.

We also found Fred Kearney, who is storing 11 cars for King Carl and says he is owed $220 for that, and still hasn’t been paid. “He still owes me, and it’s been two weeks since I saw Carl,” Kearney said.

We found King Carl at his new storefront on South Military Highway.  

“I did what I was suppose to do considering the repairs to the vehicle, and you are going to have people who are dissatisfied no matter where you go. There will always be people who are not absolutely satisfied,” Gray said.

We asked King Carl about the long list of judgments against him. “I
always show up in court. I never miss a court date,” he said.  

The best we can tell, that is true, which raises another issue. Carl showed up, faced the victims, and the judge ruled against him. We pointed out to Carl that according to the court documents, the judgments were against him, and he has not paid as ordered by the court. 

His only response to that: “Well, there are judgments against the whole country. The country is in debt.”

Why hasn’t he done what the court has ordered him to do? “This is a judicial matter. I decline to answer any questions concerning that … the people initiated this action. They can initiate it again. If they feel they are not being treated right that is what the judicial process is for,” King Carl said.

We reached out to the City of Chesapeake to ask if the city feels the need to do something about a business owner with so many judgments and complaints against him.  

The response was:

“The answer is, while the City agrees these sorts of situations are concerning for those involved, they are ultimately a matter for civil litigation. The City is not in a position to provide assistance to the parties in a case of this type, and would recommend they seek remedy via the courts.”

Heath E. Covey, director of public communications for Chesapeake

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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