Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine
On March 20, AASP/NJ (Alliance of Automotive Service Providers/New Jersey) lost one of its most valued participants with the passing of former Board member Ron Kromer, Jr. The second-generation repair professional leaves behind an unmatched legacy of strong association involvement including the organizing and promoting of numerous AASP/NJ events spanning several years.
“Ron was always full of energy, and ready to take on a new task,” remembers AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell, who knew Kromer for two decades. “He inspired people around him with his level of enthusiasm for whatever he would take on. He was always on the cutting edge of whatever information was out there and tried to share that with other people.”
During his time with AASP/NJ, Kromer was directly responsible for overseeing several special events including the Ski Trip, the Day at the Races and the Fishing Trip. Additionally, he was instrumental in the formation of AASP/NJ Chapter One in 2001 and created a special “P-Page Checklist” that shops could use to identify typically-forgotten items on estimates.
AASP/NJ member Dan Hawtin, who knew Kromer for more than 30 years and worked alongside him in building Chapter One, remembers his friend’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and work for the benefit of his fellow technicians.
AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant credits Kromer for developing several intriguing marketing ideas for the association.
“When we ran into trouble finding enough chairs for AASP/NJ members a few times [at meetings], Ron decided to take charge and come up with an idea to solve the problem,” Bryant explains. “Ron gathered enough support from industry vendors to purchase a trailer and about 100 chairs that could be transported to any location we were going to have a meeting. He funded it by allowing those who donated to put their logo and name on the trailer; we would park the trailer in front of the location where we were holding the meeting. What a great idea for all!"
A longtime NASCAR aficionado, Kromer founded the Bayville chapter of the NASCAR Members Club, a fan-driven organization noted for charity work. His work with the group included organizing a special Pig Roast to benefit NASCAR Day, an event designed to assist underprivileged children.
In 2006, Kromer purchased Ultimate Collision Center in Brick, a business that had thrived in the area for nine years.
Like so many others in the AASP/NJ family, Bryant will never forget Kromer and all that he did to better this industry.
“Words cannot express the pain that I feel that Ron is no longer with us,” he shares. “He touched so many in the collision industry through the many projects and events he thought of and made happen. I will truly miss Ron, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family.”
A former Acura dealership employee who stole $10.2 million from the Pittsburgh-area store where she worked could face six years in prison, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
In March, Patricia K. Smith, the former controller of Baierl Acura in Pine, Pa., pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges that included stealing $10.2 million over more than six years. She transferred money from Baierl to her own accounts more than 800 times from 2004 through 2011, according to the Post-Gazette.
Two University of Rhode Island undergraduates invested their own money to buy 12 Dumpsters, and Scrap Specialists Recycling was born. Their enterprise operates out of 386 South Pier Road, and saves several automotive businesses hundreds of dollars every month by properly disposing of their recyclables — for free.
for story and video go HERE
Gather your old car parts, used motor oil, batteries, mercury switches and even old child car seats and bring it to Shade Tree Garage. The Morristown auto repair shop is one of the few in the area certified by the New Jersey Green Auto Repair Council and collects these materials for recycling.
Leif’s Auto Collision Centers, Oregon
A long-established New York auto body shop owner who has successfully won over $1 million from insurance companies announced recently lawsuits seeking nearly $3 million from the trio of State Farm, Allstate and Adirondack Insurance.
The owner of a Watertown, NY, auto body repair shop said plans for an additional location in the town of Pamelia remain indefinite, following the County Planning Board’s site plan review March 27.
Junior J. Stefanini, owner of Body Pros, 17940 U.S. Route 11, submitted plans for a project that includes a 100-foot-by-200-foot auto body repair building, a 60-foot-by-160-foot retail plaza with four storefronts and a 50-foot-by-100-foot storage building on a 15-acre site on U.S. Route 11, next door to Space Age Pools and Spas. According to Andrew R. Nevin, senior planner for the Jefferson County Planning Department, the proposed business would generate about 20 employees. The Planning Board sent the project back to the town of Pamelia as “a local concern” with some comments made about the site’s layout.
“We’re noting that the local board should consider the need possibly to relocate parking to the side or rear of the buildings or require additional landscaping to buffer the front yard and this other side yard per their zoning law requirements,” Mr. Nevin said.
The Planning Board said the plans should also include more details about anticipated drainage from parking lots to assess the possible impact on a stream that runs along the back of the property.
While Mr. Stefanini said the submitted site plan may not necessarily the exact one he would want to construct, he is hoping to eventually offer more business to the Fort Drum community.
“Sometime in the future I look forward to building in the town of Pamelia, but as of right now, I have no plans of breaking ground any time soon,” Mr. Stefanini said. “It really just comes down to what it’s going to cost to build something.”
He added, “I hope to build a body shop out there in the near future and, hopefully, bring more jobs to the area.”
A sixth Baltimore Police officer was sentenced April 13 for his role in a massive kickback scheme involving an auto body shop, receiving two years in prison and being ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution.
Officer Rafael Concepcion Feliciano Jr., 31, admitted last year that he referred accident vehicles to the Majestic Auto Body shop in Rosedale after being introduced to the store's owners by a fellow officer, Rodney Cintron, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors estimate that Feliciano alone caused a loss of between $120,000 and $200,000. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Feliciano to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay restitution of $24,084, of which $10,000 will go to the Baltimore Police Department, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland.
Fifteen officers pleaded guilty in the scheme, and another was convicted by a federal jury, while dozens more were implicated in the probe. The six officers who have been sentenced have received between eight and 30 months in prison, putting Feliciano's sentence on the higher end.
March 28th, 2012---Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) described the Senate legislation to combat auto insurance fraud which costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year. The legislation would create stronger penalties for individuals who commit insurance fraud and stage auto accidents.
“Auto insurance fraud costs New Yorkers over $1 billion every year, driving our already expensive auto insurance premiums even higher. Stronger penalties are needed to combat auto insurance fraud and protect law-abiding drivers from criminals who steal from our pockets and jeopardize our safety,” said Senator Fuschillo, who supported the legislation in the Senate.
March 22---The New York State Senate passed three bills to combat auto insurance fraud, which costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year, as well as legislation that would impose stronger criminal penalties for staging auto accidents. Recent cases of auto insurance fraud have uncovered massive crime rings, including doctors, lawyers and scam artists who staged accidents and used New York's no-fault insurance program as their own giant state-sponsored, ATM machine.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Camden Iron & Metal, based in Camden, N.J., is relocating its scrap processing operations from Philadelphia to Camden.
We asked John Thomas, owner of Thomas Auto Body Shop in Hingham, MA, about his company as it passes its 50-year anniversary this year. The following is an edited version of our conversation.
I attended my second consecutive AASP/NJ Northeast Trade Show, officially show number 36, on March 9 and 10 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. As I spend more time at these kinds of events I begin to appreciated how much there is to learn in this complicated business of collision repair. It is a very educational and useful event that collision repairers should make the effort to attend next year if possible.