A plumber in Texas City is suing a local car dealer for $1 million after a truck he traded in ended up in the hands of ISIS with his business logo on it.
A picture showing the truck went viral last year after it was posted on an Islamic militant group’s Twitter feed. It shows one of Mark-1 Plumbing’s old work trucks, with the logo on the side, turned into an anti-aircraft firing weapon on the front lines of Syria’s civil war.
Plumber Mark Oberholtzer says his business and family have suffered ever since.
“A hassle. Embarrassing. It just won’t go away,” Oberholtzer said. “It keeps coming back up. Anytime anything happens with ISIS or the Taliban in Syria, then we get calls.”
Oberholtzer’s Galveston attorney filed the lawsuit against AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway last week.
The lawsuit says Oberholtzer tried to remove the logo himself, but a salesman told him “not to worry about the decal and that peeling the decal off would blemish the vehicle paint.”
As a result of the business logo remaining on the vehicle, attorneys claim their client has continued to receive harassing and threatening calls to this day.
“He wants AutoNation to take responsibility that Mark-1 Plumbing didn’t sell that truck to any terrorists in Syria,” said Craig Eiland, Oberholtzer’s attorney. “AutoNation bought it from him. What they did with it after that, they’re responsible for,”
AutoNation chief marketing officer Marc Cannon told KHOU 11 News they are still looking into what happened. However, he believed there was a conversation about the logo coming off at auction, which was handled by Adesa auction company.
“Clearly, it did not happen,” Cannon said. “The rest of that will have to be determined, what exactly happened at the auction or what the communication was.”
Records provided by AutoNation show Adesa eventually sold the vehicle to Maz Auto in Houston.
Cannon says no customer should have to go through what the Texas City plumber has. However, Oberholtzer says AutoNation should have done more to make the situation right.
“If they had just tried to work with me and tried to tell me what happened with the truck, I probably wouldn’t have done this,” Oberholtzer said. “But it has affected my business, my keep.”
Due to the “injury to character and reputation, mental anguish, loss of past and future income and loss of earning capacity,” Oberholtzer is seeking monetary relief more than $1 million.
Oberholtzer’s attorney says they now have to wait for AutoNation to reply to the lawsuit.