NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Attorney General is looking into the actions of Auto Plaza USA in Nicholasville and is expected to release more information in the next few weeks.
The Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission granted a continuance on Thursday to Amneh Khatib, owner of Auto Plaza USA for a hearing partially regarding customers' unpaid title taxes. The commission is investigating Khatib for seven different violations, including for 'willfully and fraudulently giving a false statement as to the total and actual consideration paid for a motor vehicle.'
WKYT's investigation into customer complaints against Auto Plaza USA started in May when a former customer said the Department of Revenue billed him for unpaid title taxes that he believed had already been paid. Since then, hundreds of former customers have contacted WKYT with the same concerns. "I never would have thought we'd be in a mess like this," Kayla Shearer told WKYT's Miranda Combs from her office in Mt. Vernon. She and her husband bought a used car from Auto Plaza USA in Nicholasville two years ago. "I was eight months pregnant, due in October, and we just wanted a bigger family vehicle," she recalled.
"You came to us wanting answers," Combs said.
"Just wanting to know who to go to. We need answers. Why is the state not going after the dealership? Why are we liable?" She said. According to the Department of Revenue, she owes about $600 for unpaid taxes on her car title. "They were just saying that they were left unpaid and as a taxpayer, it was our issue. So then I kinda got alarmed." Shearer purchased her car for $16,629, which is the number on the bill of sale.
"$20,668.78. That's how much you paid for everything?" Combs asked.
"Yes, everything," Shearer replied.
However, a closer look at the application Auto Plaza USA sent to the state for the certificate of title, the sale price of $16,629 has been written over and reads $9,950. She said that explains the extra taxes the state said she owes. WKYT has interviewed people that owe anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars to the state.
During an interview with WKYT back in May, Auto Plaza USA Manager Tim Nease said they didn't do anything wrong on their end, and they don't owe anyone money. He stated that they had done everything by the book. "We try to help anyone," he told Combs. "But at the end of the day, we can't help everyone."
WKYT filed open records requests with the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission for any complaints lodged about Auto Plaza USA. They sent 526 pages worth of customer complaints, violations and fines over the past four years.
WKYT also obtained this statement from Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear: "Our office has received numerous complaints, and Attorney General Beshear has serious concerns about the company's actions. We will have more information for the public in the next several weeks."