Speaker 1 Welcome to Talking Cities Aurora. I'm Diane Moca with today's top headlines in our city. The Aurora city Council approved a $10 million tax rebate for an auto group sued by the Federal Trade Commission for ripping off consumers and discriminating against black customers.
Napleton Auto is paying that same amount, $10 million, to settle that lawsuit. The FTC says the dealer snuck illegal junk fees onto consumers' bills and discriminated against black customers by charging them more for financing at local dealerships in Oakbrook, Elmhurst and Arlington Heights, plus four in Florida, one in Pennsylvania and one Missouri. Aurora residents say an auto group that charged black customers more in interest than white customers with similar situations should not be getting a handout from the city.
Speaker 2 While the Aurora location was not listed in the lawsuit, all you have to do is go onto their Google page and see the reviews just a month ago from consumers saying that they had add-on fees on their bills without their consent. The
Speaker 3 Millions of dollars in tax rebates have far more power and potency as an investment in tangible community needs. It's a shame that this council sees it possible to provide relief to a national enterprise that practices illegal discrimination against black consumers.
Speaker 2 I'll be extremely concerned if this council decides to move forward with this deal, knowing that the company has discriminated against black consumers and has cheated so many other consumers. I hope when you go to vote on these agenda items, whether it's tonight or another night, you think to yourselves, what amount of taxpayer funds am I willing to give to a company who racially discriminates? And I hope that answer is zero.
Speaker 1 The agreement says Napleton will spend $5 million to expand its Hyundai dealership at 4333 Ogden and $6.4 million to build a new Genesis dealership across the street at 4170 Ogden. 10 Alderman approved the city giving the two Aurora Napleton dealerships $5 million each in sales tax rebates over 15 years, despite the FTC saying they're holding the company accountable for discriminating and sneaking junk fees onto people's bills, especially as families struggle with rising car prices.
Speaker 4 The suit, that lawsuit for discrimination, that was filed against the greater Napleton business did not include the city of Aurora. Is that correct?
Speaker 5 Correct.
Speaker 4 And another thing, this rebate that we talk about, it's not simply the city of Aurora giving money to Napleton. They've got to actually make it, actually generate it, and they get a portion of the money they generate back. Is that right?
Speaker 5 That is correct, sir. Yes.
Speaker 4 Even though the Aurora location, the Aurora Napleton dealership, was not involved, based on the larger company they still put things in place to ensure that there's no discrimination.
Speaker 5 Yes, sir. The Aurora dealership was looked at, and they did not find any discriminatory practices or any issues.
Speaker 4 And they still took measures to ensure that there would not be any in the future.
Speaker 5 To prevent anything from happening in the future. Yes, sir.
Speaker 6 Just for the record, this is a higher and better use for this property-
Speaker 5 Yes, sir.
Speaker 6 ... as well, compared?
Speaker 5 Very much so, yes.
Speaker 6 And not just by a little bit, correct?
Speaker 5 Correct.
Speaker 6 All right. I just want to make sure that we got that on the record as well.
Speaker 5 Yeah, definitely the highest best use. Yes, sir.
Speaker 6 Thanks.
Speaker 1 Alderman Sherman Jenkins was the sole vote against the agreement.
Speaker 7 When you have any kind of discrimination, you can say, "Hey, that wasn't us," but you are part of the Napleton Auto Group. You pay a licensing fee to use that name. So that makes you a part of that. So those are my reasons. We all have to continue to fight to make sure that it doesn't happen. We're in 2022, and we should not be hearing these kind of things go on. But I encourage citizens that if it happens to you, if you know of a friend or a family member that it happens to, encourage them to do something about it, to report it. Don't just sit back and take it.
Speaker 1 Napleton's $10 million settlement is a record-setting monetary judgment for an FTC auto lending case. The money will be used to reimburse customers cheated out of hundreds and even thousands of dollars for unwanted products they didn't authorize like payment insurance and paint protection. And those are today's trending topics. For Talking Cities Aurora, I'm Diane Moca.
Napleton Gets $10 Million from City despite Recent Lawsuit for Customer Ripoffs & Discrimination