NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A WKYT investigation into title tax problems for former customers of Auto Plaza USA in Nicholasville has rippled into more questions for the used car dealership.
"There are a lot of people who got hit with a lot bigger bills and who many have well not been as lucky as I was," explained Lori Taylor. Taylor was lucky that she was able to pay the $200 bill the Department of Revenue sent her in April, with a letter explaining that her full title tax for the car she purchased at Auto Plaza USA three years ago had not been paid. "It was obvious as soon as I looked at it, I knew exactly what they had done," she said when she received the state's bill, with interest and fees attached.
Taylor financed her car through USAA, so when she got the tax bill in the mail, she called USAA and had them send her all the documents from her transaction. She said she bought the car for $10,500, and a copy of the electronic check from USAA to Auto Plaza USA showed $10,500. The purchase price on the bill of sale was also $10,500. However, on the registration form for the title that Auto Plaza USA sent to the state, it said the purchase price of the car was $5000.
"What did you think?" WKYT's Miranda Combs asked Taylor.
"I immediately thought, they're committing fraud," she said. She said that explained the extra taxes the state now says she's responsible for paying because Auto Plaza USA paid taxes on $5000 instead of the actual purchase price of $10,500. "According to the state, they (Auto Plaza USA) paid $300 and I owed another $270 something," Taylor said.
Auto Plaza USA sits on land owned by Adnan Hassan. He's owned the property since 2000. Hassan is the former owner of World Class Auto Superstore that sat on the same property. The state shut down World Class Auto in 2010 for financial and moral unfitness, fraudulent sale, fraudulent misrepresentation, and violating the law regarding the sale of a vehicle.
During WKYT's initial investigation, Auto Plaza USA Manager Tim Nease spoke to Combs about the title tax bills his former customers were getting from the state. He said, "We try to help anyone. But at the end of the day, we can't help everyone." He said he didn't owe customer's any money, because his dealership paid taxes on cars just like they always have. He said they've never had a problem like this before.
Combs took Taylor's paperwork back to the dealership to show Nease. He wasn't available, and attempts to reach him by phone were not successful. WKYT also attempted to find the current owner of Auto Plaza USA, Amneh Khatib, with no luck. And, Adnan Hassan, the land owner, wasn't able to be located.
As for the Department of Revenue, they cannot comment on if there is an investigation into the dealership. The Attorney General’s Office said the same.