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In the eyes of the state, a Quincy auto-repair shop is no longer in business. But the business owner said he isn’t going down without a fight.
James Dennis Corey, owner of Corey’s Automotive and Smog in East Quincy, was fined and sanctioned last fall after he was found guilty of numerous violations.
Corey’s automotive repair licenses were revoked Nov. 13, 2012, and he was ordered to reimburse the state $9,390 for its investigation and court costs.
According to court documents, Corey was found guilty of dozens of auto repair violations dating back to September 2009. At least 13 of the violations were identified during a Sept. 29, 2010, undercover operation by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).
“(Corey’s) violations are serious,” wrote Administrative Law Judge Danette C. Brown. “(He) performed unnecessary repairs, charged his customers for those repairs, and did not perform required repairs despite his assertions that he did.”
The judge added that she didn’t consider probation an option because Corey “was not credible, and he offered no assurances that he now understands and accepts responsibility for his conduct. Given his history, revocation of (his licenses) is required to protect the public interest and welfare.”
Corey insisted that he was “railroaded by a woman who is not even a real judge.” He said he is in the process of appealing the decision and said he hopes to have his licenses restored “in three or four years.”
“I never went before a jury of my peers,” Corey said last week. “I was put out of business by testimony from four people, who just so happened to owe me money.”
Although Corey said he “is technically out of business,” he said he is still allowed to repair boats and snowmobiles. “If it doesn’t have wheels, I’m allowed to work on it,” he said.
According to the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Corey could indeed work on some recreational vehicles. But when it comes to cars and trucks, it is illegal for Corey to do anything other than an oil change.
“He can’t do repairs for compensation from the motoring public,” said BAR field officer Carl Holmes. “If he continues to operate, the next step would be through the criminal court system.”
Judge Brown heard the case against Corey last spring during two sessions — the first at the Plumas County Courthouse in Quincy, the second in Sacramento.
Corey, who represented himself, was admonished several times by Brown for being unorganized and disrupting the proceedings. She was visibly upset after Corey repeatedly tried to enter documents as evidence that hadn’t been revealed to the court.
In addition to testimony from four customers who filed complaints against Corey, Brown heard evidence gathered by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.
The bureau sent an undercover 1994 Ford Explorer to Corey’s shop. The sting operation, which was detailed in a 23-page report, documented several cases of “dishonesty, fraud or deceit,” by Corey.
The report accused Corey of doing unnecessary repairs and charging for repairs that were not performed.
“The reason we (go undercover) is that anybody can complain about a repairman if they feel they aren’t treated well. We know that,” Consumer Affairs spokesman Glenn Mason said in December 2011. “That’s why we investigated this ourselves.”
The orders against Corey by the state included permanent invalidation of his repair dealer registration and revocation of his smog check station, lamp station, brake station, advanced emission specialist technician, lamp adjuster and brake adjuster licenses.
According to the court order, Corey would have to pay $9,390 before his licenses could be considered for reinstatement.
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