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Unique Performance victims sue Carroll Shelby
April 3 2008
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Just days after the liquidation of the shady car customizer’s assets, Carroll Shelby has been served with a suit brought by the former customers of Unique Performance, the Texas company that engaged in title-washing and other scandalous behavior that eventually led to its bankruptcy and criminal charges against its owner, Doug Hasty. Shelby’s only involvement in the Unique Performance operation was his licensing of the use of the Shelby brand for certain models.

Mike Erinakes, a local businessman who paid $162,750 to Unique Performance for a Shelby Mustang Super Snake, is a plaintiff in one of the suits. He is claiming that Shelby’s endorsement of the cars was the determining factor in his decision to purchase, and that the endorsement makes Shelby liable for Unique Performance’s failure to deliver the Super Snake after the business was raided and shut down late last year, reports the Farmer’s Branch, Texas affiliate of CBS.

A former Secret Service Agent, James Bartee, has filed a similar lawsuit against Shelby. He had purchased a Shelby Mustang GT 350SR from the doomed customizer.

“No one would have ordered these cars if it wasn’t for Carroll Shelby,” Bartee said.

Sixty-one cars were seized when Unique Performance was raided in November last year, and in theory each of the owners of those cars could bring a suit like those of Bartee and Erinakes.

The recent liquidation of the company’s assets massed over $1 million in sales - enough to cover the $900,000 IRS bill for unpaid taxes, but leaving the 140 people with claims against the firm to divide the remaining $137,000. If the lawsuits against Shelby are successful, the precedent could be set for the rest of those owed money by Unique Performance to seek the remainder from the racing and customization legend.
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