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Legal Feuds Around Duncan Dealerships Growing

DUNCAN Okla_ The bitter legal feud surrounding the two Mike Terry auto dealerships in Duncan is directly affecting its customers and employees.

The legal battle began less than a month ago, when a Stephens County judge appointed an independent receiver, Michael Deeba, in control of the dealerships. This came after the dealership's other five investors accused Mike Terry of mismanagement and using close to $300,000 of dealership money for personal purchases. The judge appointed the receiver in hopes of preserving the businesses, protecting its employees, and getting its finances back in order while the partners seek an end to their dispute. Instead, the problems grew.

It has been close to two months of unanswered questions and a lack of job security. Current and former employees said Thursday that since the dealerships were taken from Mike Terry, they haven't been paid in a timely manner, and their reputations have been ruined. Now more than 50 employees are left searching for a new job. The 100 that remain are forced to sit and wait for answers.

"It has been just an emotional roller coaster," one employee said. "It's just complete problems, treating people badly and firing all these people."

It was an order that Stephens County Judge Joe Enos thought would rescue the dealerships. He said they were important to the community, but since the legal battle began, former General Manager Keith Ordiway said the dealerships' employees' lives have been turned upside down.

"It has just been utter chaos, waking up every day not knowing if you have a job," Ordiway said, "Not knowing if you are going to get paid that day, just not knowing anything has been the problem of the dealership."

Court documents detail that Deeba claims he cannot pay current operating costs, despite efforts to reduce expenses. Those efforts included a round of layoffs that are causing employees to be unable to provide for their families.

"I have got a two-year-old boy," former employee Temple Fugett said. "My girl just started school. We could not get her school supplies. We had to go off and ask for assistance from the tribes to get my girl in school. I have got my boy having to go to bed half hungry."

Ordiway said the problem is spreading to the dealerships' customers.

"They are calling customers and having customers bring the vehicles back, even though they have already paid for them," Ordiway said.

Now, the uncertainty continues as the dealerships are on the selling block. Deeba claimed to Judge Enos that the business would have to close its doors without a timely sale. So, employees and customers come in each day not knowing what to expect. Valerie Willett has lived in Duncan her whole life and doesn't know how to move forward after losing a job she loved one week ago.

"No answers have been given about what's going on," Willett said. "Nobody has any idea how to take it. I mean, there are so many stories floating around. Nobody knows for sure what is the truth or right from wrong. It's been a lot of unanswered questions."

Thursday, there were still employees and customers who were reporting that they had not been properly paid. 7News made multiple attempts to contact Michael Deeba and the dealership's interim General Manager Thursday. Both refused to comment on the situation at hand.

Judge Enos issued an order last week that stated without a timely sale of the assets, the dealerships would be forced to close. He said the sale was in the best interest of the company and its creditors. Thursday was the deadline for prospective buyers to submit bids.



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