Originally published in the Minneapolis Tribune 7-29-81

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State files complaint against car firm

The Minnesota attorney general's office is seeking a temporary injunction that will force the Electric Vehicle Corp. to inform its new customers in writing that the company, which sells fiberglass cars, fails to fill its orders or fill them several months late.

The injunction, which will be discussed during a hearing Thursday in Hennepin County District Court, is part of a civil complaint against Electric Vehicles, Minneapolis, that charges the company and its two principal officers with consumer fraud.

The complaint was filed last week and asks for $25,000 I penalties for each violation of Minnesota consumer laws. It names Gary Courneya, president, and Randy Greges, vice president, as defendants.

The complaint states that the company, which sells fiberglass car bodies installed on Volkswagen Beetle chassis and powered by gasoline or electric motors, made fraudulent or misleading statements to customers.




Gary Courneya

Courneya said Tuesday that the charges in the complaint are not true. "We're selling cars and we're making cars," he said.

The suit also states that customers who paid the company thousands of dollars for the cars did not receive them or received vehicles that were missing parts and were inoperable.

The suit charges that the company also misled customers who agreed to be brokers for the company and sell the cars within geographic regions.

Courneya and his company, the suit states, "falsely represented to prospective brokers that they would be able to make substantial amounts of money," if they agreed to sell the cars for Electric Vehicles.

Court documents state the company was selling the vehicles and a brokerage program for $20,000 and that participants were to get their cars within four to six weeks. The company was selling 30 to 40 autos each month but has the capacity to make only 10 or 11 each month, the documents said. The company allegedly has orders for as many as 100 cars.

Courneya, however, said that the company is making 20 to 25 cars each month.

Tom Barrett, special assistant attorney general who filed the complaint, said he does not know how many customers have lost money or received defective cars from the company. He also said he did not know what Electric Vehicles did with the money it received from customers.

Last week Barrett won a temporary restraining order in Hennepin County District Court to prevent Electric Vehicles from moving its financial records, plant equipment and employees to a warehouse in California, according to the court documents. Courneya said he never had any intention of moving the company to California.

Electric Vehicles used to be known as Classic Electric Car Corp., and sold electric car kits. Both companies are owned by Thor Corp., which used to do business as Bradley Automotive.

Bradley Automotive filed bankruptcy proceedings under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code in 1978. The proceedings on the bankruptcy case were closed in April 1980 and the company resumed business on its own. Six months later, about the time its name was changed to Classic Electric Car Corp., customers began complaining about late deliveries and nondeliveries of purchased cars, according to court documents.

Copyright 2000 Star Tribune. Republished with permission of Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul. No further republication or redistribution is permitted without the written consent of Star Tribune.



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