Talk about costly car crashes.
A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by a businessman and his wife alleging an employee at a San Antonio Ferrari dealership took their 2014 Ferrari 458 Spider to “‘hot-rod’ around town” and then crashed it.
Terms of the settlement are confidential.
But court documents filed last year by the insurer for Ryad and Diana Bakalem show it paid $230,765 in property damage and related costs in connection with the 2019 crash, which “totally destroyed” the vehicle.
Ferrari of San Antonio General Manager Grenville Lewis told the Express-News last year that it had been an “unfortunate incident” when one of the dealership’s porters drove the car “on a not-approved path,” lost control and ran into a chain-link fence.
The porter was fired.
Farmers Texas County Mutual Insurance Co. intervened in the case to recover what it had paid in damages.
The Bakalems, however, remained as plaintiffs in the case because they still had other claims against the dealership, including for fraud and negligent misrepresentation. They sought punitive damages.
On April 7, the Bakalems, the dealership and Farmers submitted an agreed motion to dismiss all claims in the case.
“There is a confidentiality agreement, but the case is settled in full,” said R. Javier Guerra, attorney for Marito Sports Cars Inc., which does business as Ferrari of San Antonio. “All parties are happy that it settled.”
Representatives for the Bakalems and Farmers didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday.
The Bakalems had sued the dealership in January 2020 in state District Court in San Antonio.
They had bought the Spider from Ferrari of San Antonio in 2017. Online specs show the Spider churns out 562 horsepower and can zoom to a maximum speed of 211 mph.
In their lawsuit, the couple said they had returned the automobile in “near-mint condition” to the dealership in August 2019 so it could sell the vehicle on consignment in exchange for a commission.
After the Spider was totaled, the suit added, the dealership “acted quickly not only to cover up the wreck, but in the most audacious and appalling of moves,” sought “to spin the situation into a profit.”
The vehicle had a “fair listing price” of about $240,000, but the Bakalems accused the dealership of trying to pressure them into accepting a below-listing-price offer “while deliberately keeping the vehicle’s wreck a secret” so it could close the deal.
In an interview last year, Lewis, the dealership’s general manager, said a prospective buyer offered $220,000 for the car. The Bakalems would have netted $210,000 after the dealership’s commission. The couple agreed to the deal and signed the papers, he said.
The dealership still offered to pay them $210,000 after the car was wrecked, Lewis said. But after telling Ryad Bakalem about the accident, “he didn’t want to take” the deal, Lewis said.
“He thought with the wreck, it gave him some leverage that I should pay him more,” Lewis added. Even when the offer was upped to $223,000, they still turned it down, he said.
State corporate records list Ryad Bakalem as a manager of Randr Ventures, which owns a former Walmart store in Brownsville. Austin-based Southwest Key Programs Inc. runs its Casa Padre shelter for undocumented immigrants who are minors at the property, which is assessed by the Cameron Appraisal District at almost $9 million.
Bakalem and his wife had a home in the Dominion, but sold the property in July. They own residential properties in Boerne and Brownsville.