PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A recent court filing by AutoCanada reveals the 2014 dismissal of one of its dealer principals came after he allegedly launched an email campaign against the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C.
The email outburst, court documents say, was designed to “humiliate and threaten” the MVSA and caused further harm to the “reputation and business interests” of AutoCanada.
The case, which dates back to 2014, centres on Brent Marshall, who was the previous dealer principal at the AutoCanada-owned Northland Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Prince George, B.C.
The court filing shows the entire issue started 2013 when the MVSA issued a hearing notice against the store, a salesperson and Marshall. While the allegations against the salesperson did not proceed, the MVSA alleged Northland and Marshall committed 31 specific contraventions with respect to eight vehicles and engaged in “conduct generally contrary” to the provincial dealers’ act.
Several months later, Marshall allegedly sent an email on Sept. 19, 2014 claiming he was “caught in the middle of what appears to be a personal vendetta with the manager of compliance,” and that an MVSA investigation was an “incredible abuse of power…”
The document alleges Marshall wrote another email about a week later with the subject line of “over 100,000 copies of this, inserted in every home and mailbox…could go to 500,000 easily.”
That email had an attachment with a mock-up cover of a magazine Marshall said he owned that featured a picture of the MVSA’s compliance manager and the words “how the MVSA and this man are wasting millions.”
Marshall was terminated four days later.
He filed a complaint three months later under the Employment Standards Act claiming he was owed over $531,000 in unpaid wages. That claim was later withdrawn after it failed at mediation.
The MVSA eventually fined Northland $44,000 and Marshall $3,550 in August 2015 in relation to the original complaint.
This past September saw the matter reappear in B.C. court, though, as Marshall filed a lawsuit against AutoCanada alleging it had failed to properly act on his behalf during the conflict with the MVSA.
AutoCanada’s response to the civil claim was filed on Dec. 1 in B.C. Supreme Court. It notes, in part, that Marshall was terminated for just cause and is not entitled to damages or to be indemnified from the penalties imposed by the MVSA.
None of the allegations have yet been proven in court.
– With files from the Prince George Citizen