CONROE, Texas (CN) – A Texas auto shop owner swung a machete at a client’s head when he demanded return of his Camry found at an impound lot with its interior gutted, the client claims in court.
Cody Harris sued TMA Mechanic, its owner Ali Attayi and its manager Todd Attayi on July 29 in Montgomery County Court.
Harris says he dropped his 1994 Camry off at the shop early this year and asked the Attayis repeatedly for three months when it would be ready, and they kept putting him off.
On April 25 he received notice from an impound lot that it had his Camry. Harris says he learned that Tomball police had pulled the car over on April 15 and arrested the driver Terence Earl Paul for drug possession. Tomball is a Houston suburb.
Harris County Court records show Paul was arrested for possession of less than 1 oz. of Xanax. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor.
The lawsuit does not explain how Paul got the Camry, nor mention any connection Paul has with the Attayis and their shop.
Harris says he went to the impound lot and found his Camry trashed: “The seat cushions being cut and hollowed out, the interior door panels removed and replaced with tape, rear passenger taillight was broken, gas cap was broken, there was a large dent in the driver’s side door, and a strong chemical smell permeated throughout the vehicle.”
Prescription pill bottles, drug paraphernalia, cigarette butts and clothes littered the car and its valid state inspection sticker had been replaced with a phony one, Harris says.
He says he took the impound notice to TMA and gave it to Todd Attayi, who told him “‘not to worry about it’ because the Camry was at another lot.”
When he returned to the shop the next Monday to get his car, he says, Todd Attayi lied to him that “TMA was not aware of any impoundment.”
Harris filed a report with the Tomball Police Department. Fed up, he says, he returned to the shop a few days later to get his car and spoke to Ali Attayi, who told him: “If you want to take care of this situation, get off my property and do not return without the cops and a lawyer.”
“Is this really the way you want to handle it?” Harris says he asked.
The complaint continues: “Ali Attayi responded by brandishing a machete and swinging it within a foot of plaintiff’s head. Ali Attayi stated, ‘If I see you again on my property, I’m going to take care of you myself or have you arrested for trespassing,’ while continuing to wave the machete towards the plaintiff’s face.”
Shaken up and angry, Harris says, he filed a complaint of vehicle theft and assault with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
He seeks punitive damages for assault, conspiracy, theft, conversion, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.
He is represented by Cody Dumas of Spring.
The phone number listed on the TMA Mechanic website is not in service.
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