Magic Ford



It only took three minutes for the company controlled by billionaire Wayne Huizenga to win a Bankruptcy Court auction for the Magic Ford and Magic Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in Valencia last week.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Republic Industries won the auction with a bid of $15.9 million after competing with only one other bidder, Grapevine Motors Inc., a Ford Motor Co. affiliate set up to purchase the dealerships.

Republic will also pay about $27.5 million for the dealerships’ assets, including new and used vehicles, parts and furnishings, fixtures and equipment, according to James Stang, attorney for the bankruptcy trustee, R. Todd Nielson.

Republic owns several other dealerships in Ohio, Florida and Arizona, but this is its first move into California. Republic has also acquired Alamo Rent A Car and plans to buy National Car Rental.

Magic Ford and Magic Lincoln Mercury filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 24. Ford Motor Credit Co., the dealerships’ largest creditor at more than $20 million owed, has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the dealerships, Norman Gray, for breach of contract. Ford also accused Gray in court papers of stealing from the dealerships.

Gray has filed a counter-suit against Ford, contending breach of verbal contract.

Gray’s attorney, Leonard Shulman, questioned Ford’s motives in making the allegations against his client.

“They always knew at all times what Mr. Gray was doing with the funds, but (the allegations) made for good stuff to get a reaction out of the judge and get a trustee appointed,” Shulman said.

Lisa Steen Proctor

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