Category: Scams

Confessions of a former Red Rock dealership service department employee

A former employee of Red Rock Hyundai in Grand Junction who quit as an act of conscience last year previously gave an interview in which he told how Red Rock financing and insurance (F&I) employees had been fleecing people and submitting false information to financial institutions on the sales side. The same person also worked in the service department at Red Rock Hyundai, so I contacted him again to talk about how service is billed at these dealerships. The conversation ranged into a discussion of other service practices as well.

The former employee revealed some disturbing practices he’d witnessed in the service department at Red Rock Hyundai. These, combined with what he had seen happening on the sales side weighed heavily on his conscience and led up to his resignation. Some of what he said he had seen included:

  • Techs putting metal shavings into dollops of oil taken from cars, then showing customers the oil with the shavings in it to convince them their cars needed more work, up to and including a new engine.
  • Techs being told to drain the oil out of vehicles that were still under the manufacturer’s warranty, then drive the vehicles around without the oil in them, then bring them back and fill them back up with oil before returning them to the customer. The intent was to burn up the engine so the dealership would be able to put a new engine in under the manufacturer’s warranty, since they make more money when the manufacturer pays for repairs than when customers pay out of pocket for the same job.
  • Red Rock selling their own proprietary Portfolio-brand of extended warranties to customers buying brand new cars with manufacturer’s warranties on them. They did this because Red Rock owns the Portfolio extended warranty company, and if anything breaks down on the vehicle while it’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty, the manufacturer will have to pay for the repair, meaning Red Rock gets to pocket the thousands of extra dollars they charge customers for these additional, duplicative Portfolio extended warranties.
  • The former Red Rock employee urged customers who take their cars for service at Red Rock to check on the prices they will be charged for parts, for example by calling Napa Auto Parts to compare prices, since Red Rock commonly overcharges for parts by a wide margin.

Following is the conversation I had with the former employee, who now works at a different new car dealership in town. His answers are denoted with the symbol ♣. The conversation was lightly edited to help readers who are a little less familiar with this subject matter better understand what was being discussed. I had contacted the employee and he had a short delay before he was able to call me back.


: Hey Anne, long time no talk, sorry about that.

A: Yeah, no problem, thanks for giving me a little time to explain this to me. [How service department billing works.]

: So, the way it works here at G.J. Subaru, or any manufacturer, like Ford, Dodge, Chrysler — all those manufacturers — when your car is brand new and you have your 3-year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty… Say the engine goes bad and it’s covered under warranty…Like all of these manufacturers set up a system [that] says, so, “due to 1,000 technicians doing this job, it takes an average of like 6.6 hours to do this engine,” so all the manufacturers set up their own [system] of what they’ll pay for a warranty repair. So there’s a website — that is the most common thing in automotive, it’s called AllData — in which you can look up labor times. Extended warranties have access to list prices of parts and labor, so I consider them like any other warranty. They’ll pay more than what manufacturer labor is, but you can’t just tell them on an extended warranty, like “Hey, I need 12 hour for this engine.” They can look it up and still see what labor times are suggested for that job. When it gets to customer(s) pay(ing), though, that’s when its tricky, because most people are, unfortunately, just like in the buying process, unaware. So when you bring your car in and drop it off, let’s say at Red Rock Hyundai, you bring in your Elantra and [the clock is] ticking. So they diagnose it. You pay for an hour of diagnosis. I don’t know what the labor rate now is. It was $160/hour when I left [Hyundai]. Then they’ll get an estimate. The Red Rock Auto Group Parts Matrix is ridiculous. They mark things so above cost that if you were to look it up… We had complaints from customers when I worked there all the time. They were like “Oh, I called Hyundai out of Denver and it was like $80 cheaper.” So  Red Rock does not get a lot of wholesale business. They don’t have a lot of shops calling for their parts because they mark it up so high, even to local businesses. So a lot of the shops that I called around town — because when I was working there, they wanted me to try to gain that business back — and they were like “No, your markup is ridiculous.” So like [****] is the parts manager at Hyundai, she tells the other parts minions to get this matrix. She sets it up, and so they charge whatever, like if they spent $20 on a part at Napa, they’ll sell it for $120 and make $100.

Red Rock Hyundai, 2162 Highway 6 And 50, between Fruita and Grand Junction

A: Wow, that’s huge.

: Yup, and so…like…so yeah, that’s a big thing, and when it comes to customer pay, too, since the customer is paying out of pocket, if they want to get it fixed, and depending on the issue, they’re going to have to say “yes,” like if they come in and they need a new engine and the technician says “I want 15 hours of labor” and then the service writer quotes it. You know, there’s not a uniformity of how many hours this technician can quote. Two of the exact same cars [can] come in, and two different technicians can quote two different times, so, like the company can make more money off of one technician because he quoted three extra hours, when the other one quoted less, because he knows he can get it done.

A: That seems arbitrary. So it’s based on the technician’s skill and what they think it will take them, depending on their skill level?

: Yes, because obviously when you’re flat rate, they get paid [the] flat rate. So if they quote a job at 13 hours and they get it done in 5, they get paid for all 13 hours. But if they quote a job for 5 and it takes them 13, then they lose 8 hours of pay, if that makes sense.

A. I see, so like [the repair techs are] kind of like in business for themselves that way.

: Yes, exactly. And so, getting paid for diagnosis is always a big thing, and that’s pretty uniform at any shop in town. Depending on the technician, there’s definitely a lot of dishonest mechanics that will add a bunch of hours onto jobs, just, you know, as long as they can get away with it.

A: And diagnosis was charged at a flat rate per hour, like $160, when you left?

: Yup, yup.

A: And this grid system [for labor billing] that came and went after a few years, was in vogue for a while and is not used any more?

: When I was a mechanic at Berthod Motors in Glenwood, we never used it. I’ve heard about that system from older mechanics, who were like my mentors. Like, they talked about grid mechanics for labor rates and stuff like that, but I’ve never seen a shop do that. But I do know that when I took my ex-wife’s Hyundai Sonata in there [to Red Rock Hyundai], the new service manager that actually came from sales, his name was Jeremy, he’s a great guy, he told me that they’re hurting badly. Like this was a couple of months ago, they lost a million dollars. Like they went from selling 150 cars a month down to they’re barely selling 50. I don’t know if it’s better now or not, that was a few months ago. That same month one year prior they sold 190 cars, and they only sold 50 that month at the Hyundai dealership. I don’t know [if that’s the case at] all the other stores], but that store is now hemorrhaging money.

A: I bet the most recent article in the newspaper didn’t help that, either.

: Yeah, of course not. Now that [Red Rock employees] are getting arrested everything is coming to light. ….I know everything is busy and Hyundai’s been trying to get me to go back and I’m like “Yeah, no, I’m not going back there. No thank you, I’ll stay here with Subaru, thank you very much.”

A: How did they contact you?

: They call me. Jeremy is one of my close friends. He’s one of the honest salespeople over there and he’s a good guy, and he didn’t know about the things that were going on…Well, they were hurting for a service manager because they demoted the one, and they moved [him] down to GMC. They hired another guy, [and then] they fired HIM because HE was doing shady stuff, and they got caught. Like, it’s just like your articles say. They don’t fire people for doing the shady stuff, they fire the people for getting caught for doing the shady stuff. And so they fired him, and this was after all the managers left [Red Rock] and went to Grand Valley [Auto]. So now that service manager works at Grand Valley as the service manager. Like, it’s just, I don’t even know, it’s getting bad all over.

A: So they [Red Rock] have not become more honest, they’re just burying the misdeeds?

: I think now that people are getting arrested, I definitely think they’d try to be more honest. Like they stopped doing the markups, because they were lying about markups.

A: Do you think [former state auto industry investigator who was hired by Red Rock as a “compliance officer”] Dale Sundeen is making any difference?

:  No. I think that Dale Sundeen was a press stunt. I think they offered him a nice cozy salary, like a six figure-plus salary, to keep him quiet.

A: I think that was probably the intent as well.

: My thought process is, because [Sundeen] was probably tired of hearing about all these [Red Rock] dealerships and having to come down and investigate every one of them, especially at Hyundai. I had seem him like five times in three months for different people. I think that he got tired of it, and took the bribe. I think that Bryan Knight offered him … like the Dahles offered him, a significant salary for a do-nothing job. And he was close to retiring anyway. That’s my honest opinion.

A: So what’s happening over at your dealership (Subaru)? Have you seen an uptick in business because of all this?

M: Oh yeah, oh yeah. We’ve seen a ton of people come in with cars they’ve bought from [Red Rock]. We’ve been helping a lot of people out in the community that have bought lemons from them that we fix. Like, we had a Subaru come in last week that they bought from Red Rock Nissan and they [Red Rock] had put thicker oil in it to mask an engine issue, and we called Subaru and Subaru is paying for 3/4 of the engine, and we’re eating the other 1/4 of it because we know of all the stuff that’s been going on.

A: So [Red Rock Nissan] put in oil that was too thick, and it damaged the engine?

: No, no, they put thicker oil in it because it had engine noise, and when you put thicker oil in it, it quiets down the engine noise.

A: Oh, like a rattle…

: Yeah.

A: And so, it was going to need a new engine anyway, and they just thought they would quiet it down for a while, to like put in a patch and not fix the problem?

: Yes.

A: I see. I actually heard of that from another person who worked in service, her name was *****. Have you heard of her?

The business listing for Red Rock Auto Group with the Colorado Secretary of State shows it is registered as a “foreign corporation,” which means it was formed outside the state for purposes of operating in Colorado. Registered agent is listed as Steven T. Dahle, son of Tim Dahle.

: Yes, I used to work with her, too, yup.

A: [She] told me they did that. She told me a couple came in with a newborn baby, and the service people were told to put thicker oil in [the car the couple wanted to test drive] for the purpose of selling it, for the same reason, to quiet an engine rattle, and she said she was offended by that idea. So they’re still doing that kind of thing, then?

: Oh, well yeah, they’re like… I know Nissan maybe stopped doing it, but they have like a thing of metal shavings that they would put in customers’ oil to make them feel like they were in need of an engine, that they could submit to their extended warranty, so they could make money off it it…

A: Wait a minute, wait a minute…go back. They were intentionally putting metal shavings into oil?

: Like not in the oil, but when they were draining the oil [out] for an oil change, they would take some of [the oil they had taken out] and put metal shavings in there, yeah.

A: Oh, to show it to the customer and say “Look what I found in your oil! Metal shavings! So you’re going to need something else…,” right?

: Right.

A: And then, what do they try to sell [the customers] because of that? Like, a whole engine?

: Yeah, a whole engine, yeah.

A: Seriously?

: Yeah. And they got away with it. They definitely got away with it. And that was part of the reason why I quit, because they wanted me to do, like, they wanted me to do stuff like that, like they wanted me to drain the oil out of cars, and have me drive the cars around so Hyundai of America would pay for it.

A: Like, to burn it up?

: Yeah, to burn it up. And then fill it back up with oil, because, like Hyundais are trash cars. Like every Hyundai in existence has an engine recall on that thing, so, yeah, they would do that so that Hyundai would pay for a new engine, because they make more money on parts from manufacturer-pay than from customer-pay. So it depends. You know, I’m not the warranty administrator, so I don’t know all the information on how they negotiate that, but like, for example, Hyundai, like Subaru, pays more if a transmission goes bad [than if a customer pays out of pocket]. Like the cost of a transmission for you, if you had a Subaru, it would be $6,000. Well, [the] Subaru [Corporation] pays a dealer $8,500 [to repair] that [same] transmission, and I don’t know if it’s just because…again, I’m not the warranty administrator or anything else, so I don’t know how all the negotiation works, or how they do it.  But yes, [the dealer] makes more money from the manufacturers paying for the repair than from you, as a cash-paying customer.

A: So they would ruin the engine of a customer’s car that’s still under [the manufacturer’s] warranty, so they could get a repair that will pay them more money?

: Yup.

A: And this was at Nissan?

: No, Hyundai. And they would screw the customer over [by doing this] because we didn’t have a lot of loaner cars, so they would be on their own.

A: Oh, this is so terrible.

: Yeah, like I said, all of the Red Rock dealerships do that stuff. And they definitely promote adding extra labor hours, like you know what I mean, like, they’re all about adding services.

A: Well, thank you for telling me about that. It really just hurts to hear of that kind of stuff is being done to people.

:  Yup. Oh yeah. And I could go on and on. I could tell tell you hours of stuff that’s being done to people, and again, that’s why I left. That’s why I didn’t put my two weeks in, that’s why I just up and quit. That’s why I gave my key to Jesse when he was manager and I just said “Look, I can’t do this any more. My conscience is just too good to continue doing this, so you need to find another person.”

A: Was that Jesse Kirstatter?

: Yup. He’s now the GM [General Manager] over at Grand Valley [Auto Sales].

A. Interesting. I had another former employee of Tim Dahle contact me and say he’d like to talk to me. His name is Brad Gillespie. Have you ever heard of him?

: Yeah, I’ve actually met him twice. He probably doesn’t remember me, but yeah, I met him twice. He’s a good dude. And that’s what they do to people there. Like honest people like us, they’re trying to make a good living from writing service, because I mean being a service writer is very profitable, as long as you’re honest with your customers, you know what I mean?

Tim Dahle, owner of Tim Dahle dealerships in Utah, the same corporation that also owns Red Rock dealerships in Grand Junction

A: Yeah.

: And they, like Tim Dahle, with all of their sales practices, their shady practices start at the top and go all the way down to the bottom, sales, service, parts, all of it. Like, please warn people to check their parts pricing and call other dealerships if it seems like you’re getting ripped off, ‘cause they probably are. I know they are, actually.

A: Okay, I see. This seems to be isolated to Tim Dahle and their associated dealerships, I mean the Tim Dahle and Red Rock chains, since they are like sister corporations. It’s almost like they evolved in a different ecosystem than other dealerships.

: I’ve met a couple of the Dahles once, I think. And I have learned, it’s like that typical saying, “Once you make money, you figure out how to keep making money, and you’ll do whatever you can to make money.” I think that’s why they started Portfolio. Because they literally, when they do Portfolio claims, they’re not losing any money. It’s not money laundering, because you’re still getting a service, but it’s almost like money laundering because they sell all these Portfolio contracts and they pay out very little, so they get to keep the money not used on these contracts, and so then whatever they sell …so yes… they’re making money at the back end of the dealership because they still get their money from the parts and service sold. So it’s like a big circle of money moving around, so essentially they’re not losing money because they make money off the [extended warranty] contracts and finance, they’re making money [when] they sell those longer [extended warranty] contracts on cars, like Hyundais come with a ten year, 100,000 mile warranty on the power train, so then they’ll sell you a Portfolio 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain [warranty]. They did that to me and my ex-wife. And so I’m still fighting them over that…

A: So these two warrantees [the manufacturer’s warranty and the Portfolio Extended Warrantees], they run concurrently?

: Yup. And yeah, that’s how it works. So like, for example Hyundais have the longest warranty, so instead of 3 years and 36,000 miles, they have 5 years and 60,000 miles. So they day you buy the car, the [Portfolio extended warranty they sell you] probably takes about 2 weeks to show up in Portfolio’s system, and the [two warranties] run concurrently. So [if a repair is needed], Portfolio will tell you “No, we’re not going to pay for that because it should be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty,” so then [Red Rock] gets out of paying for stuff. So then when the [manufacturer’s] warranty is up, that $5,000 or whatever that they charged [the customer] for their extended warranty, they’ve lost none of that money because the manufacturer ate all the cost of the repairs. So then Red Rock has

Local TV ad by Red Rock Auto

profited from all of that $5,000. That was all profit.

A: And so they try to sell these Portfolio warranties on all of the lower-mileage used cars, too, right?

: Yup, yup.

A: And if it’s a higher mileage car, they’ll sell [the customer] one of the other [brands of] extended warranties, like Endurance?

: Yes, they’ll sell Endurance or [another one] at an extremely extravagant rate, and they’ll sell very limited coverage. So they’ll sell you Portfolio coverage that only covers power train and so, they’re banking on, you know, if it has 50,000 miles on it, they’re banking on that in 7 years or 90,000 miles that the engine doesn’t blow up or the tranny doesn’t blow up, so like, it’s all calculated risk.

A: So there was another guy [I talked to] who worked in Finance & Insurance [at Red Rock] who was selling other brands of warranties that he thought were better, and he said [the platform manager] Brantley Reade threatened him with his job for that. He said Brantley told him something like, “Do you know why we sell Portfolio warranties?” and the guy says back “Because we are a reinsurer of them?” And Brantley says, “It’s not just that. It’s because that’s where we make all the money to keep the lights on and buy all these new dealerships, that’s where we make all our money.”

: Well yes, exactly. Like I said, if they sell a Portfolio warranty, the Dahle’s are not losing money in any aspect, because even if for example, if you break down like, 50 miles from your purchasing dealership, it’s in the contract that you HAVE to go to your purchasing dealership if you break down within 50 miles. Like I said, the Dahles have been in this industry for so long that they know what they’re doing. I think the whole finance thing — I don’t know if the Dahles are necessarily involved in telling, or training their finance [employees] to screw people over. I’ve never met them on that personal of a level. But I definitely know that general managers, and all of these general managers from Utah and everything else, like, they definitely have a certain style of living, and they will do whatever it takes to get that style of living. Because like, when I read your article about Tiffany [Miller, the former Red Rock Finance Manager who was arrested in August for forgery, criminal impersonation and Identity theft], like Tiffany was one of the worst finance managers. Like she did so much illegal stuff it was ridiculous.  Like, all of these finance managers that have been leaving the company, like I said, I hope they go after Tony [Calvillo], because they made Tony… like I guess they told Tony to do stuff, but at the same time, like Tony actively made that decision, like to have Kaete [forge a signature] for a $10,000 [extended] warranty on [Jesus Acevedo’s] truck, like, they’re actively making that decision. Because the Dahles strangle…like again, I was never a finance person, but, like the finance people were struggling to make money. The Dahles definitely run their dealerships in a way that is not conducive to their finance people making a lot of money. They should be making just as much or more than the salespeople, essentially, but they don’t.

A: I hear in Houston the commissions are like twice what Red Rock pays.

: Oh, oh, oh yeah, even like here at Subaru even our salespeople, there’s a guy, his name is *****, he’s the top salesman here, and he made $400,000/year, like he’s averaged about $400,000/year selling cars here. The finance guy, like I think he told me he made like $230,000, and all of our stuff is honest. We sell Subaru extended warranties, like Gold Plans and whatever else, that will cover other vehicles. Like, we’re selling legitimately good stuff here.

A: Wow, that is a lot of money.

: Yes, yes, and there’s a lot of opportunity. Like we used to be independently owned, but Sonic Automotive bought us out, but even working for a corporation, like this corporation has so much integrity, like they already have cameras in financial managers’ offices, you know what I mean? And you have to go through a whole four week program to become and [finance and insurance] officer for one of their dealerships. Like they do so much.

A: Sounds like they’re pretty professional and by the book.

: Yes, and it’s been nice to work for that, instead of for Red Rock.    



But who’s going to sue them?

This editorial from the Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 issue of the Daily Sentinel is reprinted here with permission from the publisher. The original editorial is on the Sentinel’s website here. The added graphics are AnneLandmanBlog’s own embellishments.

By violating Colorado’s 2008 Public Health Act, Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has captured the Board of Public Health and put herself in a position to push her personal religious views and political whims onto the agency

Mesa County commissioners would like their constituents to believe they are “by the book” policy makers.

But they’re willing to toss the book out the window if it interferes with their fever to micromanage Mesa County Public Health.

The latest twist in the commissioners’ slow, indelicate and legally questionable takeover of the public health board is that commissioners now control the agenda of what is supposed to be an independent body.

Pretty slick. Commissioners did it with the full cooperation of a new health board it installed after the old one resigned en masse when it became clear commissioners intended to revoke their appointments for not acquiescing to the commissioners’ demand to fire MCPH Executive Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr.

Second Red Rock Auto financial manager charged with crimes against customers

Daily Sentinel headline, August 29

A second former Red Rock GMC financial manager has been charged with forgery, criminal impersonation and identity theft within the last month after posing as a customer on a phone call to the Canvas Credit Union to try to expedite a customer’s vehicle loan.

Matthew Morris acted as an accomplice to Tiffany Miller, the first Red Rock GMC financial manager charged with the same crimes in early August. Both Morris and Miller were fired from Red Rock, but in her arrest affidavit Miller pointed to Red Rock management as pressuring her to commit the crimes. In the same affidavit (pdf), Morris said that Red Rock GMC Sales Manager Tyson Chambers and General Manager Caleb Stillman both knew he and Miller were making the fake calls to

Tyson Chambers, General Manager of Red Rock GMC

the lender and that they “and essentially encouraged the behavior.” Morris added that “he was terminated [from his job] not for making the call, but for being caught.”

Red Rock promotes its reviews on TV, but wait…

Screen shot of a Red Rock TV ad

The Red Rock Auto Group, which owns five dealerships in Grand Junction, has been advertising heavily on local news with ads that tout what they say are their many positive reviews.

We’ve already seen evidence, however, that indicates  Red Rock manipulates online reviews by coercing its employees to write positive reviews (a violation Google policy) and by purchasing good reviews from customers by offering them perks like free gas and oil changes in exchange for positive online reviews.

But we shouldn’t forget the slew of gritty and honest negative reviews that show the real difficulty Red Rock has caused so many customers, and the responses or lack thereof to such reviews from “the owner.”

What we learned from former Red Rock GMC financial manager Tiffany Miller’s arrest affidavit

Mug shot of Tiffany Momilani Miller, a former Red Rock GMC financial manager who was arrested earlier this month on charges of forgery, criminal impersonation and identity theft. (Photo: Daily Sentinel/GJPD)

Former Red Rock GMC financial manager Tiffany M. Miller was arrested earlier this month and charged with forgery, identity theft and criminal impersonation.

AnneLandmanBlog obtained a copy of the full August 2 arrest affidavit (pdf) for Miller.

The biggest takeaways from it are summarized below:

  • A couple was trying to buy a vehicle from Red Rock GMC at 741 N. First Street, and applied for a loan through the dealership. After they left with the vehicle, two Red Rock financial managers, Tiffany Miller and Matthew Morris, phoned the customers’ lender and posed as the couple, in a claimed effort “to verify the information on the auto [credit] application,” and “expedite the loan process.”
  • In addition to posing as the customers, Miller falsified information on the customers’ credit application, including who the primary driver of the vehicle would be, and the length of time the couple had lived at their residence, and she falsely stated the car had extra accessories it didn’t actually have, including running boards, rear bucket seats, a rear entertainment system and blind spot monitors. The customers told GJPD investigators the car they were purchasing had none of these features. These items would have increased the value of the vehicle to the lender. (Note: This is a practice that, according to a former Red Rock finance employee is called “Power Booking,” that is aimed at increasing the value of the car to the lender to get the customer a bigger loan.)
  • The Grand Junction Police Department (GJPD) first sent the case to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division (AID), the enforcement agency for dealerships. Months later, the AID sent it back to the GJPD because “the allegations are for felony criminal activity.”
  • Red Rock GMC General Manager Tyson Chambers said Red Rock GMC got “locked out” of Canvas Credit Union via their online lending platform, Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL), because of the “victim complaint and the potential forgery on the loan application.”

    Tyson Chambers, General Manager of Red Rock GMC, who, according to Miller’s arrest affidavit, pressured Red Rock Human Resources Manager Amy Felix to lie on a form about why Tiffany Miller had left Red Rock. Felix told a police investigator Tyson had ordered her to lie on the form because he “didn’t want to ruin [Tiffany Miller’s] life.”

  • Tyson Chambers fired both Tiffany Miller and Matthew Morris, the two GMC financial managers who posed as customers on the phone call to the lender. Morris later told the GJPD criminal investigator that he was told that making calls posing as customers was “just part of the business and everyone knows they do it, to include the banks.”

Violation of state law let Rowland seize control of Mesa County Public Health Department

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland succeeded in imposing her political will on the Mesa County Public Health Department yesterday after appointing two final conservative members to the Mesa County Board of Public Health (BOH).

Health Department employees point out Rowland made all the new appointments to the Board of Health without consulting a single person at the Health Department.

“The fact that they keep appointing people to our Board that so clearly do not support the work that we do feels like a spit in the face every time,” one employee said.

Tina Peters is again begging people to pay for her legal defense “to save America.” She’s also encouraging churches to break federal law and promoting jury nullification, which could help keep her out of prison

Tina Peters on on 7/18/2023, telling lies and begging for money

In a July 18, 2023 video posted on — the online video platform right wing extremists turn to after being banned from YouTube and Facebook — indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters optimistically starts off a half hour interview by saying “I always have a smile on my face because I know the best is yet to come.” She explains why she just fired her criminal defense attorney, Harvey Steinberg. She told her attorney,

“If you can’t get me off on two misdemeanors, how are you going to fight seven felonies and three misdemeanors?”

Mesa County Commissioners avoid getting bids for $49k forensic Health Dept. audit & Dufford, Waldek law firm contract

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland failed to get 3 bids for multi-thousand dollar contracts

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has cited the awarding of contracts without first getting competitive bids as reason enough to fire Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Jeff Kuhr:
According to an article in the 6/14/23 issue of the Daily Sentinel, titled “More turmoil on the Public Health Board,”
“At the June 5 public health meeting, [Mesa County Attorney Todd] Starr presented a largely one-sided view of a partial audit done earlier this year on the department, some of which said Kuhr hired contractors without going through a competitive bid process…” [Italicized emphasis added.] Rowland complained that awarding sole source contracts without first getting bids or going through review by County finance departments “puts the County at high risk because [the contracts don’t] go through a legal, risk or finance review.”
But she and the other Commissioners award high-dollar contracts without first getting competitive bids where such bids and oversight are merited, according to County policy.

Red Rock dealership customers still finding surprise additional charges and claimed forgeries on their documents

Think Trouble: Red Rock’s proprietary USB key-style thumb drive that they use to hand people their documents

Since Red Rock dealerships’ shady sales tactics were first exposed in this blog, people have been digging out documents from their vehicle purchases at Red Rock, examining them and continuing to discover expensive extras added to their contracts that they didn’t know about and signatures on them that people say are not theirs.

One of these people is Natasha Bury-Wilder, a hard-working single mother of three employed in home care, who says she got taken twice by Red Rock Nissan and ended up in a deep financial hole as a result.

The Mesa County employee behind the effort to fire Public Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr

Lisa Rickerd Mills (Photo: Facebook)

Lisa Mills is a behavioral health strategies manager for Mesa County’s Department of Health and Human Services and by all indications seems to be a key figure in the County’s recent ongoing, unhinged efforts to take down Dr. Jeff Kuhr as longtime Director of the Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD).

Can the Board of Mesa County Commissioners sink any lower?

The Board of Mesa County Commissioners (BOCC) have been in full attack mode against Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr for months. All their efforts to remove him have been shown to be without foundation. (L-R: Bobbie Daniel, Cody Davis and Janet Rowland). Photo: Mesa County

EDITORIAL from the June 1, 2023 edition of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.  Reprinted in full, with permission. Link to original editorial is here.

This editorial explains what’s been going on with the Commissioners’ months-long, defamatory attack on Mesa County Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr.

Can the BOCC sink any lower?

“Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

 Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, to Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy during hearings in 1954 on whether communism infiltrated the U.S. armed forces.

Mesa County commissioners are in the midst of a relentless campaign to remove Dr. Jeff Kuhr from his position as executive director of Mesa County Public Health.

They’ve tried every trick in the book, some a little more unseemly than others, but none as low as the character assassination they’ve planted in the public record that unfairly swipes at Kuhr’s reputation without giving him an opportunity to defend himself.

Commissioners are acting much like the disgraced Sen. McCarthy, whose role in the Army-McCarthy hearings was described as “judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one,” by Harvard law dean Ervin Griswold.

Mesa County Commissioners working to seize control of Mesa County Board of Public Health

MCPHD Director Jeff Kuhr, Ph.D. won plaudits for helping Mesa County get through the Covid-19 pandemic

Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr has been under attack by the Mesa County Commissioners, who for some reason have been working for months to generate credible reasons to fire him. Commissioner Janet Rowland in particular has targeted Kuhr, accusing him of financial impropriety and grievous errors in MCPHD’s procurement processes. The Commissioners have ordered the Mesa County Board of Public Health to fire Kuhr, but they refused, saying there is no actual evidence that he’s intentionally done anything wrong. Not only that, but the State of Colorado rates MCPHD as having the lowest possible financial risk (pdf) in its compliance with federal and state contracts, making it clear that the state trusts MCPHD, but our right wing commissioners don’t. (This financial risk rating is done every three years, but the state skipped it during the pandemic. The MCPHD is currently undergoing this analysis again.)

Red Rock Kia charging customers more for paying cash

You used to get a better deal if you could pay cash. At Red Rock dealerships, it’s now the opposite.

Red Rock Kia is advertising a 2018 Nissan Murano on Facebook Marketplace with two different prices: one if a customer finances the car, and another almost $900 higher for customers who  pay cash.

The ad points to the financed price, and crows “Saves money!”

Come on, Red Rock. We’re not idiots.

Any form of financing will cost a buyer far more than they can ever save on this deal.

Even under the best circumstances, for example a customer who finances $27,000, has an excellent credit score and a 48 month loan at a 5% interest rate, after adding taxes and fees to the deal, the interest on that loan will cost at least $3,350.

Small potatoes compared to the what Red Rock wants to charge people who pay cash.

It’s legal for them to do this. After all, they’re telling you about it right up front, as they should

But that also gives people the ability to vote with their feet by patronizing businesses that don’t discriminate against customers based on form of payment.

Evidence indicates Red Rock dealerships bribed customers for positive manufacturer surveys

We’ve already seen the evidence showing Red Rock dealerships worked to slant reviews in their favor on public-facing consumer review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp. A different facet of this deceptive behavior is how the dealerships treat vehicle manufacturers’ customer satisfaction surveys.

Members of the public use Google, Yelp,, DealerRater and other review sites to help them decide who to patronize, so stacking reviews on these sites misleads the public. But auto manufacturers have their own proprietary, internal customer satisfaction surveys that they use to determine how well or poorly customers are being treated at their dealerships, and where their dealerships need improvement.

Vehicle makers expect honest responses to these surveys so they can improve their customers’ experiences, so submitting falsified answers to the car companies’ customer satisfaction surveys defrauds the vehicle manufacturers.

Two former Red Rock employees report that “bribing” and “harassing” customers to leave positive manufacturer surveys was routine at these dealerships while they worked there.

One former Red Rock service employee wrote in a text,

Red Rock Auto Group’s greedwashing campaign

Red Rock got this free media from the Daily Sentinel on January 19, 2023, with this photo of their donation to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Red Rock also got Joy Thompson of CASA to say “We love Red Rock” on a January 19, 2023 local KREX-TV news segment about the donation.

After a company has been outed as over-the-top greedy, there’s nothing left for it to do but make conspicuous donations to local charities to score public relations points and blow smoke to make people forget about how their business has harmed the community in the long term.

That’s likely why, near the end of 2022, after all the unseemly tactics Red Rock Auto dealerships had been using on customers to fleece them out of thousands of dollars over the last 7 years were exposed, Red Rock suddenly started ramping up its donations to local charities and promoting their donations in ads on TV and through free media given to them by local TV stations and newspapers.

A company that ingratiates itself to reputable charitable causes as a way to distract from its immoral acts is engaging in a form of “greedwashing,” a term developed during the taxpayer-funded federal bailouts of the big banks during the economic crash of 2008-2009:

Red Rock gets over 15x the complaints of other major G.J. auto dealers, but only slaps on the wrist by the state Auto Industry Division

An open records request to the Colorado Department of Revenue Auto Industry Division (AID) seeking all complaints submitted about the major Grand Junction auto dealerships over the last two years showed no complaints were submitted against Western Slope Auto, which sells Ford, Lincoln & Toyota, no complaints were submitted against Ed Bozarth Chevrolet & Buick, no complaints were submitted against Grand Junction Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, and no complaints were submitted against Jim Fuoco Motors or Fuoco Honda in 2021, before it was sold to Red Rock Auto Group in April of 2022, but within the last two years at least 15 complaints were submitted about Red Rock Auto Group’s stores. There were at least two more complaints beyond the 15 documented ones the Auto Industry Division sent that were submitted against Red Rock, but one of them was still undergoing investigation and they could not release information on it, and the other was dismissed after the complainant chose not to pursue it further. Another complaint against Red Rock was submitted to the Colorado State Attorney General, who is investigating it. This makes a total of 18 known complaints lodged against Red Rock Auto Group stores in Grand Junction in the last 2 years.