Aug. 30, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Buchanan Faces Another Lawsuit

“If you’re terminated, you’re not entitled to your vacation pay, according to documents that he signed when he was hired,” Chrisman said. “And he never came to us ... all of the sudden he just wants a couple of weeks vacation [pay]?”

Regarding allegations that Buchanan misused corporate money to finance his 2006 run, Chrisman declined to comment. He also questioned the motives behind naming Buchanan in the suit, calling him “basically a silent investor.” Still, he confirmed the Congressman’s corporate offices were once located at the Sarasota Ford dealership.

“I came on the scene in November 2006, so I am not really privy to what happened before,” Chrisman said.

Lee and Kezer are just two of the ex-Buchanan employees — as well as two consumers — represented by Douglas Lyons, a consumer rights attorney who is working with an automotive fraud activist, Duane Overholt, in building the case against Buchanan and his dealerships.

In an interview Friday, Lyons declined to elaborate on any future lawsuits against Buchanan, but confirmed that he represents multiple people who have filed court papers against the lawmaker or his businesses.

“All I can say at this point: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. We’re familiar with at least four dealerships where the same activities are occurring, [and] the only common thread is [Buchanan’s] ownership,” Lyons said. “Based upon what we see, there are a number of illegal activities going on at a number of different dealerships.”

Buchanan’s office confirmed the lawmaker is a “passive investor” in five dealerships.

Overholt, who has shepherded numerous class-action lawsuits and is working with seven Buchanan whistle-blowers, speculated that it may be difficult for the lawmaker to distance himself from the allegations.

“With the documents we have, the knowledge of how car dealers operate ... his dealers’ agreements, as well as the statements from our clients, there’s no way Buchanan could not have known,” Overholt said.

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