A Northern Westchester Mercedes dealer is countersuing a local repair shop for defamation after the shop claimed the business was demanding kickbacks.
Celebrity Auto of Westchester, owner of Mercedes-Benz of Goldens Bridge, filed suit against North State Autobahn of Bedford Hills and its owner Gregory Coccaro Jr., on Nov. 22.
In the suit, Celebrity Auto claims North State and Coccaro made defamatory and slanderous statements of fact with respect to Celebrity, including statements that Celebrity is not licensed, Celebrity violated New York law, that they demanded so-called “kick-backs” and requested a “flat-out mafia style bribe."
The problems between the two companies began when Tom Maoli, owner of the Celebrity Motor Car Co. who also owns a group of stores in New Jersey, bought the Goldens Bridge dealership from Estate Motors.
Estate Motors had backed North State as an authorized Mercedes repair shop for some 13 years, but when Celebrity took over the two met to discuss their continued collaboration, North State says Celebrity demanded a "kickback" on each repair they referred.
North State says in its lawsuit it refused the deal, and Celebrity then terminated its ranking as an authorized Mercedes repair shop costing the shop millions of dollars.
Shortly after, the repair shop sued Celebrity and the automaker for $11.5 million.
In Celebrity’s suit, they claim the business has a right to terminate their sponsorship of the repair shop.
North State and Coccaro, are asking for compensatory and punitive damages for the damage to their reputation.
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