LAS VEGAS (Legal Newsline) - A Nevada tire and automobile service company is blaming a Las Vegas television reporter and a defunct state agency for the legal problems it has experienced since March.
KTNV-TV and the Consumer Affairs Division had teamed up for an undercover investigation with the hopes of exposing substandard service at Tire Works, though the ensuing lawsuit filed by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto was dropped Tuesday.
Tire Works, which has 13 locations in the Las Vegas area, also dropped its countersuit against the state.
"The complaints against Tire Works represented only a tiny fraction of the automotive complaints received by the State and represented a miniscule number of cases relative to the total number of customers that Tire Works has served," Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert Giunta said.
"The Consumer Affairs Division's decision to permit the news media to accompany them on the compliance checks was the reason the case was so exaggerated and received so much publicity. The net effect was that the allegations were made to appear much larger than they were."
Tire Works Chief Financial Officer Roshie Weightman said the reporter, Darcy Spears, almost ruined the company. She added the company has suffered millions in lost revenue and had to put its expansion plans on hold.
"This is an amazing account of how a reporter, KTNV's Darcy Spears didn't let facts stand in the way of a story and almost single handedly wrecked a business with 130 employees. It just didn't matter how good our track record with customers was," Weightman said.
Before the piece aired, KTNV news anchor Nina Radetich was recorded telling Weightman that her boyfriend could help the company with media relations.
Station general manager Jim Prather said Radetich suffered a lapse of judgment. He is similarly standing by Spears.
"On behalf of consumers, we will continue to ask tough questions of both the Attorney General and Tire Works," Prather said.
Weightman said the Consumer Affairs Division wanted to gain some publicity for itself when the economy started to fail.
Investigators took a car to three different Tire Works stores and received three different estimates, and concluded that the estimates amounted to deception.
After the CAD referred the matter to Masto, it sold the car. Masto's press release said that prevented Tire Works from being able to clear its reputation.
Spears' first report featured interviews with several unsatisfied Tire Works customers. It can be viewed here.
Weightman said she is not happy the station is keeping Radetich and Spears. A release said the station appears "unashamed."
"This is a market with some truly hard working and accomplished journalists," Weightman said. "I would think it must pain Spears to no end to know that she will never be one of them."
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.