However in keeping with the grievance, a Ford consultant on Oct. 25 instructed Kitty Van Bortel that Henderson Ford had entered into a brand new buy settlement to promote the shop to West Herr Automotive Group and that the automaker wouldn’t train a proper of first refusal. The Van Bortels allege of their grievance that that could be a breach of contract.
On Tuesday, the Van Bortels filed an amended grievance, including a gender discrimination declare and alleging that Ford violated the New York State Govt Regulation underneath which Kitty Van Bortel is a part of a protected class as a feminine.
Ford has not but answered the lawsuit.
“Whereas we sometimes do not touch upon energetic litigation, we categorically reject any assertion that we discriminated in opposition to any supplier primarily based on race or gender,” Ford spokesman Ian Thibodeau instructed Automotive Information in an emailed assertion.
Kitty Van Bortel referred remark to her lawyer, Leonard Bellavia of the Bellavia Blatt legislation agency in Mineola, N.Y.
“She’s decided to press the lawsuit as a result of she feels that she’s been victimized,” Bellavia stated. “She’s been nothing however loyal to Ford for 20 years. She simply feels terribly victimized as each a supplier and a feminine.”
Final week, the increasing West Herr group of Orchard Park, N.Y., introduced it had acquired Henderson Ford. The corporate confirmed to Automotive Information that the transaction closed on Nov. 24.
Former Henderson Ford proprietor Randy Henderson declined to remark, and West Herr executives didn’t reply to Automotive Information questions in regards to the lawsuit. The dealership has been renamed West Herr Ford of Webster.
In a information launch, Henderson stated: “Out of the numerous sellers that expressed an curiosity in our enterprise, West Herr got here ahead as the appropriate match for our workers and household with nice values and integrity and I consider will carry extra progress into the Webster and surrounding communities in addition to alternatives for our workers.”
Bellavia stated he and Kitty Van Bortel, one among Automotive Information’ 100 Main Girls within the North American Auto Business in 2005 and 2016 Time Supplier of the 12 months winner, realized final week that the shop had been bought.
West Herr now has 4 Ford dealerships, together with one in Rochester about 16 miles away from Henderson Ford. The group, now with greater than 30 places, acquired its begin in 1950 with a single Ford dealership and is majority owned by Scott Bieler, in keeping with its web site.
West Herr ranks No. 22 on Automotive Information‘ checklist of the highest 150 dealership teams primarily based within the U.S., with retail gross sales of 29,085 new autos in 2020.
“In bringing to the dealership our extra administration expertise and know-how, dramatically bigger new and used stock, we really feel we are able to develop the dealership and serve Webster and the encompassing communities on the muse that Randy Henderson constructed,” Bieler stated in a information launch.
Van Bortel Ford is about eight miles from Henderson Ford.