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Lawsuit: Legendary TV Car Salesman Uses Dealership As 'Personal Piggy Bank'

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 21, 2014 10:00PM

A lawsuit against legendary Chicago-area car dealer Al Piemonte claims the longtime television pitchman of using the cash reserves of his car dealership empire to finance a lavish and extravagant lifestyle for him and his family.

The lawsuit filed by Todd O’Reilly accuses Piemonte and his wife Rosanna of funneling portions of more than $6 million in cash reserves for personal use. O’Reilly, who claims to have a 44 percent stake in Al Piemonte Ford, claims the Piemontes have used money from the dealership to pay for cell phone bills, credit card bills, personal expenses such as clothes, country club expenses, pest-control and remodeling Piemonte’s condo. The suit also accuses Piemonte of buying his wife a $110,000 Mercedes (what, a Ford isn’t good enough?), pay for repairs on one relative’s Cadillac and provide health insurance for family members who never worked for Piemonte.

O’Reilly wants the court to appoint a custodian to handle the dealership’s business dealings and the Piemontes to repay what they spent. An emergency petition for a guardian to be appointed was rejected earlier this week.

O’Reilly claims he can buy Piemonte’s stake in the dealership for book value in the event of Piemonte’s death. At age 82, Piemonte has had health issues in recent years and he and Rosanna Piemonte have been grooming her son to take over after Piemonte dies, and the Piemontes have shut out O’Reilly from any day-to-day business dealings at Al Piemonte Ford.

Sounds like the kind of hassle Al Piemonte promised his customers would never see for over 30 years.