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Dealership Overcharges Metro For School Bus Repairs

Dealership Overcharges Metro For School Bus Repairs
Posted at 8:49 PM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 17:13:08-04

A local car dealership overbilled Metro Schools for work on school buses dating back to 2011.

Carl Black Chevrolet blamed two employees for the overbilling scheme and reimbursed Metro more than $176,000.

Metro Schools often outsources repairs on its fleet of more than 600 school buses to places like Carl Black Chevrolet.

An anonymous tip to Metro last December led to the discovery that Carl Black employees had been overcharging Metro Schools.

An audit done in May revealed the dealership inflated the number of hours it took to perform repairs, and often billed for wrong parts.

Carl Black Chevrolet initiated their own investigation and reimbursed Metro nearly $125,000 for work done in 2014 and 2015.

But Metro was concerned the problems went beyond those years.

A Metro audit found discrepancies on 73% of invoices in 2013, and 44% of invoices in 2011 and 2012.

It found that Metro Schools did not have a valid contract with the dealership during much of that time.

The audit recommended that Metro Schools seek another $50,000 from the dealership for a total of $176,826.

Carl Black Chevrolet said they have reimbursed all of the money.

They sent NewsChannel 5 Investigates a statement saying their own internal investigation found two of its employees had been overcharging Metro to benefit themselves.

It said those employees have been fired.

The dealer's statement said the company "Deeply regrets the fact that Metro was victimized by these two employees. Carl Black was also victimized by these acts in that its good reputation has been damaged."

A Metro audit back in 2015 recommended that the school district hire more maintenance personnel.

NewsChannel5 Investigates asked Metro Schools for a comment but the district's spokesperson said they did not want to participate in the story.

The Metro Council's Audit Committee will be briefed on the report tomorrow night.

Here is the entire statement from Carl Black Chevrolet:

Late in 2015, it came to our attention that Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (‘Metro”) may have been overcharged for work performed on Metro vehicles.  We took this information very seriously and immediately took steps to investigate this information.  We hired outside investigators who carefully audited our work for Metro under the supervision of our attorneys.  This audit uncovered two employees, who had primary responsibility for the Metro account, had, unbeknownst to Carl Black Nashville, been overcharging Metro to benefit themselves.  When Carl Black confirmed these actions, it immediately severed its relationship with these employees, determined the amount Metro had been overcharged and immediately took steps to reimburse Metro for all overcharges.  That has been done.
After fully reimbursing Metro as a result of the actions of these two employees, Carl Black Nashville implemented new management level procedures to insure that the actions at issue would not be repeated.  Carl Black is confident it has installed safeguards to prevent a reoccurrence of these unfortunate events.
Carl Black deeply regrets the fact that Metro was victimized by these two employees.  Carl Black was also victimized by these acts, in that its good reputation has been damaged and a valued customer was impacted.
We consider this incident an aberration from the many years of untarnished service we have provided to our customers and feel confident that, going forward, our customers will continue to be serviced with the same level of great service and fairness which has defined our company over the years.
Carl Black deeply regrets this entire matter.  Carl Black is proud to be a citizen of Nashville and values its place in the community.  It would not knowingly do anything to jeopardize that place.  Carl Black looks forward to many years of continued service to the Nashville community.