Did you really believe the eBay/M3/BMW dealership story was over? I know I didn't. I had a feeling that this will evolve into something even more complicated. The initial topic on M3post has reached almost 900,000 visitors and members of the forum started to become "creative" and came up with some photoshoped photos of Fil Catania, the General Manager, at BMW of Lincoln, Nebraska. On top of that, a Youtube, video mocking Mr. Catania and making of fun of this whole case, had become really popular among the BMW fans and Youtube members.
Of course, the lawyers got involved even more and legal letters started to go back and forth between the two parties. Many forums, blogs and other internet publications have been threatened with legal actions for posting the Youtube videos and the copyrighted photos of the GM. You can download this letter here.
Also, from the same letter we have learned that the dealer was very accommodating and even though Mr. Ken Tanisaka(the eBay winner) has not been able to secure financing, the dealer has offered an extension. Also, BMW of Lincoln offered to pay for Ken's flight from L.A to Nebraska or even to pay for the auto shipping. It seems to me that the dealer realized the negative publicity this case drawn upon them and they are willing to make this deal go through.
Just when we thought everything was over, on Friday, Jeff Gomon, President ,Missouri Valley Chapter, BMW CCA, got involved in this situation by posting the following on M3post:
Hello followers of the mayhem
Just left the dealership. The M3 is in just as pristine a condition as the day I saw it and the White coupe delivered and the miles are as announced. (got pics of it, sat in it weeks before this crap started, I started it up, sounds great, looks great). I repeat, there is NOTHING WRONG with the damn car…period so we can stop that line of drivel. I have seen it several times this week and it is being well taken care of. Further, the car is Kens, it HAS been since Monday, all he has to do is have someone, anyone, send the money and pay for it…that's it. Nothing fishy about that. I don't know about the other legal issues as stated in the Lincoln based Lawyer, other than I know the terms of payment have changed since the initial agreement on Monday as lease was brought in which BMW of Lincoln had agreed to extend another 72 hours. One thing remains, he can have the car!! No one is denying him the car, unless payment is not tendered. The dealership, from Kens admission, has been helpful and even gave him the number of someone at E-bay when he could get not response. He asked everyone to please stop the $hitstorm and several posters on this blog reminded of this. This clearly did not happen and has done nothing but fan the flames. Some of the advice, and admissions of actions, posted here were a bit frightening.
In my opinion, some of what is happening now legally is a direct result of this onslaught. It doesn't affect me either way as I must remain neutral in matters like this. As President of BMW CCA, Missouri Valley Chapter in this region, we have a great relationship , as do our members, with both area dealerships. So, I am not posting to support or bash, just to relay what I know as several staff members of BMW of Lincoln are members, some board members of our chapter. Do I have Fil's (which is short for a very Italian name) phone number on my iphone, yes. Did I get an e-mail response from Larry VanTuyl on this matter when I e-mailed him, yes. Do I know the facts, seen the documents, heard the terroristic phone messages, text messages and other various pranks, and seen the disgust in the eyes of the operators that field these calls, yes. Still I kept quiet…
I have not posted as I really wanted to remain neutral, figuring that the bloggers that are digging up all the data would just flame me as a troll of BMW of Lincoln. Feel free to search all you want, I am simply a BMW CCA member with some insight. If this were happening to Markel BMW, I would be doing the same thing. It isn't an issue of Dealership loyalty. I would ask that you go back and check out the dates of the BBB reports. Fil has only been there for 6-9 months. The Z-06 deal was before he was there. A little more insight. The BMW and Mercedes Benz franchise is a separate sales and service building with its own GSM, its own budget, its own sales staff and mechanics. Those BBB reports were for the GM side, a block, and a world, away. Fil cannot control something when he was not even in the state.
Further, Fil did NOT even know about this situation until after the Internet sales guy tried to squash his screw-up, which is what it was, by some quick footwork that didn't obviously work. Fil found out about it, late on Friday and Ken was called and told by that it would all be straightened out on Monday as it was late, and Easter weekend was coming up. Starting Friday and continuing Sat and Easter Sunday this escalated into, well, I think we know. Know this, as promised, the car was Kens Monday. Were there some interesting requests, and did Fil get huffy on the phone, knowing him, he might have. Remember, bloggers hacked computers and were e-mail blasting him, his staff, his family and were calling him all weekend. TV reporters had called, local newspaper etc. Bloggers had called Fil's Father (who does NOT own the dealership by the way) during Easter Dinner. Also called and harassed were his sisters, brother and other family members. So, if you tell someone that it will be handled on Monday, and you get harassed ALL WEEKEND, I think I would have a few words for the ONLY person he could put a face on that had a role in all this. Given the actions of some bloggers, his actions were pretty tame.
Not even going to comment on the youtube video and the pictures, which I hear are very nice centerpiece of their case at this point. This is, in my opinion, nothing more that mob mentality and has gotten way out of hand. I can share this with you. That place was packed all week with people going in to check out the "infamous" ebay M3. In fact, BMW of Lincoln has sold, and pre-sold, more cars to locals this week thru the foot traffic generated by this so. I would bet they have lost nothing from the stack of new sales order I saw. Publicity, good or bad, is still publicity, get people out to check it out, and this is great FREE publicity. I hope it hits 2,000,000 posts!!!
To be quite honest, both of our area dealerships have great reputations and the CCA members go to whichever dealership is closer. The comments I am getting are, actually, not well received as to the comments and portrayals of the dealership by the bloggers. Most are saying it is just not their experience. Many supportive calls and e-mail were sent as well. For Ken I have this. Yes you will be getting your license place frames, your Husker football Tickets and, as all clients that purchase a new or CPO BMW at BMW of Lincoln, you will receive a 1 year membership to the BMW CCA (or a renewal if you already are a member). It is really too bad that you never heard that this dealership won an award from BMW CCA for the dealership signing up the most members of all dealerships in the nation…thats #1 of 368. Again, just stating facts and not throwing out random conspiracy theories.
From what I saw, BMW NA is not getting involved at this time, but I am told that E-bay and BMW NA will make comments once this is over…..I think you will be interested in that information. One last thing. Fil is Not just the GM, but a part owner of the Dealership, I don't think he will be firing himself anytime soon, certainly over something like this.
I am not a troll, just some lowly 1991 BMW M5 driver who happens to be closer to the situation than I expected. You can google me all you want. You will find pics of my car and articles I have written on our chapter newsletter as well as a link to our Chapter website. Feel free to flame me just the same, call me what you want, I have no angle here, nothing invested. I don't buy my cars from dealerships, only fellow CCA members. I do my own maintenance as I am an aircraft mechanic, and I don't work for BMW of Lincoln. All I can go on is my own experiences with them, which is quite positive, and I hear the same from fellow members.
From here on out, I will only make comments on what I KNOW is fact in efforts to quell this firestorm and set records straight. Hurry up Ken and get this thing paid for at this great price. In the end you are getting a great car.
Of course, this was the icing on the cake and the opinions on this issue started to flow again. One interesting thing that we learned from Mr. Gomon's post, was that, due to the publicity this case has received, the BMW of Lincoln, Nebraska, has sold, and pre-sold, more cars to locals this week through the foot traffic generated by this. As I always said, negative publicity is still free publicity and in this case, it certainly seems to be valid.
So, tomorrow, the second 72 hours extension will expire and if by the end of the day, Mr. Tanisaka will not be able to produce any sort of payment, either leasing, financing or cash, the dealer has all the rights to cancel the transaction. From what I have been reading on the M3post forum, Ken is looking to lease the car now, instead of financing. Smart choice? Hmmm, maybe not this time. In my opinion, he should purchase the car and sell it in a few months and he will still come up on top.
Plus, who wouldn't want to buy this M3 that received the most publicity ever?
Hopefully tomorrow, this whole saga will come to an end and everyone can move on with their life.
P.S Even though, the Huskey's Group lawyers threatened to sue everyone that posts the Youtube video, we, BMW Blog, believe in the freedom of speech and we are going to allow the video to be posted. If Youtube has no issue with the video, I see no reason why the internet publications should be worried about a possible lawsuit.