Many have claimed the federal government was playing fast and loose with the rules surrounding its takeover of General Motors and the circumstances surrounding the selection of which dealerships would remain open and those that wouldn't. Fox News' Gretchen Carlson came forward with evidence of this through a personal account of dealership closings.
Carlson, a co-host on the Fox News Channel's morning show "Fox & Friends," appeared on Glenn Beck's June 9 program and questioned the logic behind the decision reached by the government and General Motors (GM) to close down a dealership that has been in her family for 90 years.
"I'd like to get a hold of the car czar too," Carlson said. "Never did I think personally that I would need to get a hold of him, but now I do because my parents have owned a General Motors dealership in Anoka, Minn., for 90 years and they were terminated last week and they would like to know why. They would like to know why from the car czar."
According to Carlson, the dealership had exceeded the obligations set forth by GM for its dealerships, but were still facing a shutdown which would mean laying off 80 of the dealerships employees.
"It said you would no longer be part of the new General Motors," Carlson said. "Apparently there was criteria, but let me tell you this Glenn - they haven't lost money. They are a profitable operation. Their objective, they met at 103 percent. You can't go higher than that and yet they are being terminated. There are 80 employees who will not have jobs anymore. My parents lay awake at night worrying about those employees."
Carlson cited one dealership that was allowed to stay open that involved a government official.
"Many, they all had a meeting yesterday in the state of Minnesota, but here is the ironic thing - there was a dealership that was closed in the first round in the metro area of Minneapolis. That person was able to get a meeting with GM executives last week for an hour and a half. And lo and behold Monday night, that dealership is back in business. Now you tell me this isn't about who you know and who you can speak to."
According to the Jun 9 Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., intervened in the shutdown of a dealership outside of Minneapolis - Bloomington Buick Pontiac GMC, owned by Paul Walser. Following her involvement, GM had reversed it decision and determined the dealership would remain open.
"There was government intervention with a political person who was able to set up that meeting," Carlson said. "But I thought this was supposed to be that you were closing dealerships because they weren't performing."
The dealership shutdown also came with strings attached. The "Fox & Friends" host said GM threatened to not honor warranties on the remaining vehicles sitting on the dealerships' lots following the shutdowns if the owners failed to agree to General Motors' terms.
"It gets worse because by Friday (June 12) terminated dealers by GM have to sign what's called a wind-down agreement," Carlson explained. "And if they don't sign it, they have a gun to their head - they will not get any warranties on any of the vehicles that are currently sitting in their lots, which the judge [FNC contributor Andrew Napolitano] tells me is illegal."
Napolitano confirmed that and said federal law required GM to fulfill the obligations under the warranty and such agreements can not alter those terms. But one of the parts of the agreement being forced on those auto dealers according to Carlson was a "gag order" that forbids public discussion of the agreement.
"There's also a gag order in the agreement - a gag order that says you can not speak to anybody other than your employees unless you get GM's consent," Carlson said.