Classic Car Enthusiast Wins $7.2 Million Fraud Case Against Restoration Shop

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The classic car restoration stories we feature here are often accompanied by a fun ride. That’s because they usually involve the passion of the owner and the shop facilitating the work, but this one was different.

Entrepreneur Bill Oesterle has won a fraud lawsuit against Healey Werks Corp. – a dedicated auto restoration shop in Iowa, Indiana Star report. According to the suit, the store and its owner Craig Hillinger pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from Oesterle during their 10 years of working together on various projects. The case was filed in Iowa in 2020 and has reached a decision recently following investigation.

The relationship between Oesterle – former CEO Angie List and the current CEO of TMap, LLC is abysmal LinkedIn and Hillinger started in 2010. At that time, Oesterle bought a classic Maserati Ghibli for $16,000 and sent it to Hillinger for restoration work. Hillinger told Oesterle that the work would be completed in one to two years, and would cost less than $200,000. The work was not completed even after four years and Oesterle was billed for more than $1 million, the complaint said.

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The complaint also cites an instance when Hillinger convinced Oesterle to buy the Austin-Healey 100M with him – a coveted factory model that required assembly. The entrepreneur laid out $50,000 for the unit but when he received the classic sports car, Oesterle “discovered that the 100M was not the factory 100M that Hillinger had promised,” according to the lawsuit.

“I would like others in the classic car community to be aware of the situation,” Oesterle said in a statement.

Iowa District Court Judge James N. Daane has ruled that Healey Werks Corp. committed fraud against Oesterle and violated Iowa’s trade in motor vehicle services laws.

The judgment said Oesterle suffered a loss of $2.4 million. The award is tripled under Iowa’s motor vehicle services trade laws. Healey Werks also had to pay Oesterle court costs and attorneys’ fees outside the judgment of $7.2 million.

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