A federal judge has entered a judgment of more than $2.5 million against Robert Allen Nissan of Helena and its owner for allegedly defaulting on various loans.
Jefferson City resident Kenny Simpson said he is now in the process of purchasing the Helena dealership, but the deal has not yet been finalized.
According to a Feb. 22 complaint filed against the dealership in U.S. District Court in Helena, Robert Allen Nissan received loans from Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation to purchase a variety of new and used vehicles for its inventory. Under the terms of the agreement, the dealership was required to pay back the loan for each vehicle as soon as it was sold from the lot.
However, the complaint alleges that a Jan. 31 audit found Robert Allen Nissan failed to repay loans totaling $795,584 for 25 vehicles.
As a result, the corporation accelerated all loan balances and declared all amounts immediately due. As of Feb. 4, 2019, that included the unpaid loans of $795,584 as well as contractor fees of $6,300, wholesale charges of $39,566 and a principal balance of $5,945,336.94 for a total of about $6.8 million.
NMAC demanded that Robert Allen Nissan pay the full amount owed or surrender 90 vehicles that were used as collateral, but the complaint alleges the dealership refused.
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In a July 2 order, Judge Charles C. Lovell wrote that the corporation "has made a prima-facie showing of the right to possession of the Collateral and the necessity for seizure of the Collateral by the US Marshal, District of Montana." The judge noted that the levying officer could enter the Helena dealership at any time, "using any necessary reasonable force," to repossess the more than $2.8 million worth of vehicles.
Court documents filed in early November say NMAC had repossessed the vehicles and was in the process of selling them. The documents say the proceeds minus expenses will be added to the outstanding balance, and the dealer owed a total of $2,535,253.77 as of Oct. 31.
As part of an agreement dated Nov. 5, Robert Allen Nissan and NMAC asked the court to approve a judgment of $2,535,253.77 plus NMAC’s attorney’s fees and costs. The agreement says NMAC will apply any proceeds from the seized vehicles to the judgment amount.
On Thursday, Lovell signed an order that includes the judgement against Robert Allen Nissan and notes that NMAC "is entitled to recover its reasonable costs in this action upon a proper application to the Court."
Robert Allen declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday. An attorney for Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation did not return a call in time for this story.
Former Independent Record reporter Thomas Plank contributed to this story.