Dusty Old Cars owner sues AG
Stephan Condodemetraky, the owner of the now defunct classic car dealership Dusty Old Cars, is suing the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office in federal court claiming he was maliciously prosecuted for fraud.
“The AG’s office acted as the Judge, Jury and Executioner, taking away the rights of the small business owner, denying him the ability to work with his customers without any reliable evidence of wrongdoing,” Condodemetraky wrote in the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Concord.
Condodemetraky is representing himself in the lawsuit, and he refused to answer questions submitted to him via email. Instead, he sent a long email to several newspaper editors not involved in the reporting of this story, accusing the NHReporter journalist of wrongdoing, and using years-old Twitter screenshots from a now disabled account as proof. He did not respond to a follow up email seeking clarification.
The lawsuit names Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn, and other states officials as defendants. Kate Giaquinto, director of communications for MacDonald, declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing the pending litigation.
Condodemetraky’s business empire, which he boasted as growing at 30 percent a year, began crumbling starting in 2015 as he was placed under investigation by the New Hampshire attorney General’s Office for allegedly defrauding consignment customers at his business.
In his lawsuit, Condodemetraky claims Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti of making up falsehoods in order to pursue the prosecution. At one point, Condodemetraky claims, Boffetti made up an active shooter report as part of his maneuvers against the car business. He also claims Boffetti wanted to hurt him and his family, according to his lawsuit.
Condodemetraky was indicted in three different superior courts on various theft and forgery charges and went to trial in Merrimack and Rockingham superior courts.
Dusty Old Cars customers started filing complaints with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office as far back as 2015, with more than 100 people eventually seeking redress from the state. The classic car dealership’s consignment customers alleged that Dusty Old Cars took their cars and charged them for bogus repair and other fraudulent fees, and sometimes did not pay at all when the consigned cars sold.
While there were numerous complaints, the state has not had much success in prosecuting Condodemetraky.
In March of 2019, he was found guilty of one count of theft in the Rockingham Superior Court, and sentenced to 48 hours in jail and barred from going into any other retail car businesses in New Hampshire. Condodemetraky appealed that conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, but the court affirmed the conviction in September without holding oral arguments.
According to court records, that theft case involves an old Buick consigned to Condodemtraky’s business. The allegations in this case are similar to the many other complaints filed with the New Hampshire Attorney General.
On July 13, 2015, the owner of a 1941 Buick car entered into a consignment agreement with the Condodemetraky’s company. Under the agreement, Condodemetraky agreed to provide the owner with the proceeds of the sale, less a 10 percent consignment fee and certain authorized expenses, together with a detailed invoice, “once the proceeds of the sale of the vehicle are received,” according to statement of facts included in the Supreme Court’s September order.
Condodemetraky sold the car for $21,000 and received payment in full in August of that year, but he did not provide the owner with an invoice until October 20, 2015, according to the court record. The invoice reportedly stated that the vehicle had sold for $20,500, and that the owner would receive $17,854.30, after deductions for the commission and certain repairs.
Instead, though, Condodemetraky sent the owner a check for $10,000, the record shows. Over the following several months, the owner’s son communicated with Condodemetraky regarding the remaining proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. On March 11, 2016, Condodemetraky sent the owner a second invoice, this time listing additional charges, including a $5,978.12 “marketing charge,” according to the statement of facts. The consignment agreement contained no language regarding a “marketing charge,” according to the court record. On March 11, 2016, the Condodemetraky reportedly sent the owner a check for $500.
He was found not guilty in November of 2019 on 20 charges in a fraud and forgery in Merrimack Superior Court following a trial involving allegations he forged titles on 10 cars. He also has pending criminal charges in the Hillsborough Superior Court-South. The state is seeking to have his federal lawsuit dismissed.
Condodemetraky filed for bankruptcy in 2017 as the criminal and civil cases were swirling his business. The court appointed a trustee to oversee liquidation of the business, Nashua-based attorney Michael Askenaizer. Askenaizer eventually filed a lawsuit against Condodemetraky on behalf of the creditors, accusing the former used car king of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
Askenaizer states in his lawsuit filed in United States Bankruptcy Court that Condodemetraky took in money from loans and investors despite the fact Dusty Old Cars had been insolvent as a business as far back as 2013.
“Condodemetraky directed the operation of the business of Dusty Old Cars … and controlled and manipulated its books and records in such a way as to hide the losses incurred and to allow him to extract millions of dollars from creditors with no expectation, nor realistic way, of paying back that which was taken.”
At the same time, Condodemetraky was taking in money from investors in his businesses based on the false financials he kept, according to the lawsuit. Each new investor’s money was used to pay off previous investments, according to the lawsuit, while the business allegedly duped customers out of their cars.
“Mr. Condodemetraky knew, or should be treated as knowing, that the business model was defective, that the sole purpose of the business was to create a façade of success that he could use to induce customers and lenders to provide him with money or things of value on the promise of repayment with extraordinary returns, but with no actual prospect or intent of repaying them,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Condodemetraky used the flow of money and vehicles that came to him by virtue of the unrealistic promises of extraordinary returns or of a better price, to enrich himself through shareholder distributions, inflated salary, and the payment of household expenses by the company.”
Askenaizer eventually settled with Condodemetraky in the Bankruptcy Court in 2018 over the fraud lawsuit. Despite seeking close to $5 million in the case, the parties settled for $110,000.
The business started in Derry, but eventually moved to a larger facility in Nashua where Dusty Old Cars had a warehouse containing more than 400 classic cars, and 25 employees.