Car buyers go to court for dealer's arraignment

December 15, 2010 8:47:29 PM PST
Three desperate car buyers came to an East Bay courtroom hoping for justice, but they left with only a promise. It is a case 7 On Your Side has been following.

As we reported last week, the owner of Elite Auto in Pittsburg faces 11 criminal misdemeanor charges in this case. He appeared in court Wednesday and some of his alleged victims showed up in court too.

Shirley Jones won a $5,000 small claims judgment against Monty Slavens in April. She's still waiting to be paid.

When asked how much the money meant to her, Jones responded, "As much as my kids mean to me because it was actually for them. That car was for them and that was like my life savings."

Bill Gumataotao says Monty Slavens owes him at least $6,000 and got the Contra Costa District Attorney to press charges.

"What I'd like to hear is an offer in compromise, at least I would entertain that," said Gumataotao.

Slavens is accused of selling cars and then not submitting the proper paperwork to DMV to get the cars registered. Both Jones and Gumataotao no longer have the cars they bought.

Police towed Jones' car for an expired registration. Slavens repossessed Gumataotao's car when Gumataotao refused to make any further payments until the car was registered. ABC7 cameras were not allowed in the court and Slavens refused to talk to 7 On Your Side.

One other alleged victim says he just wants what's properly his.

"He's probably had six, seven months, plus that, to square it up with me and say, 'Hey Stan, something bad happened, let me make it right with you,' like he kept saying and promising and his word is just no good," said Stan Austria from Martinez.

Slavens did promise to talk to both Jones and Gumataotao on Thursday. 7 On Your Side will keep you posted.


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