HAZLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Some of the dealerships at the Hazleton Automall have no cars to sell, and carmakers are suing the dealers claiming the auto mall's owners owes them millions.
Two dealerships in the auto mall have empty showrooms. A third, according to court papers, owes millions.
A lawsuit claims the owners of the group that runs dealerships near Hazleton, in Michigan, and in New Jersey is "a house of cards."
Drive by the Kia and Hyundai dealerships at the Hazleton Automall and you will see there are no new cars in the showrooms.
Evan Baum worked as a mechanic at Hazleton Hyundai for a year and a half. He left last month when he says car-carrier trucks loaded most of the new Hyundai vehicles on trailers and hauled them away.
"I showed up at work the next day, and like 7 in the morning when I got into work, the lot was fairly diminished," Baum recalled.
The manager of the Hyundai and Kia dealerships tells Newswatch 16 the closings are temporary. He wouldn't go on camera, and he admitted he had no idea how long the dealerships will be closed.
Jay Drone bought a Kia Soul last year because of the auto mall's "set for life" program that provided free maintenance like oil changes and free car washes as long as the original buyer owns the car, but when he tried to get an oil change last week, the dealership wouldn't honor the agreement.
"They didn't honor it, and they also said they would not honor me going somewhere else," Drone said.
Lawsuits filed in Luzerne County against the auto mall claims Kia and Hyundai are owed about $2.5 million and about 100 vehicles once on this lot could not be located.
Another suit, filed by Nissan, quotes co-owner Michael Saporito as saying his dealerships in Michigan, New Jersey, and Luzerne County are a "house of cards." The other owners of the auto mall and its dealerships are former New York Giants linebackers Antonio Pierce and Jessie Armstead.
The Nissan and the Honda dealerships at the auto mall remain open.
Baum found another job after leaving the Hyundai dealership, but he worries about other workers who were let go and are looking for a job.
"There were people that were there until they were told to not come back."
Newswatch 16 has been reaching out to the auto mall's ownership group for the past two weeks, but no one has returned our calls to comment on the lawsuit or the status of the Hazleton Automall.