JONES, Okla. (KFOR) – KFOR has an update to a story we’ve been following about an auto shop owner in Jones, Oklahoma, who has many customers and even former employees upset. Several more people have come forward, claiming they’ve also been taken advantage of. People we spoke with claim he owes them thousands of dollars. Some are still even without their cars.
Jones Auto used to be on Hiwassee Road and E Britton Road. The owner, Kirby Gallagher, is being accused of taking money from people, hiding their cars, and not paying his workers.
“It’s been very frustrating. You know, it’s very stressful. You know, you put trust in somebody, and you think that they might be honest and they, you know, do this kind of thing,” said Timothy Robertson, Jones Auto customer still waiting for car nearly a year later.
Timothy Robertson said it’s been almost a year without his Jeep after he dropped it off at Jones Auto. He paid Gallagher $6,500 to fix his car, but months ago, the shop closed down.
Gallagher told KFOR in our previous story the rent was too high. But Robertson said he did not know where his Jeep was.
Robertson says he’s been given excuse after excuse.
“It’s been a lot of stories of ‘Your vehicle’s ready. I’ll get it to you this day.’ And that day comes and, you know, nothing,” said Robertson.
On the day of KFOR’s interview with Robertson, he received a letter. Another Oklahoma City auto shop was demanding he pick his car up. The shop said it has been sitting in their lot for months. The car has been fixed and it’s ready to go.
“I got some news. I got a certified letter from the gentleman that he had been in contact with from his lawyer saying that a certain amount of money is due and stuff,” said Robertson.
KFOR called the owner.
He did not want to go on camera but said he has been friends with Gallagher for 20-plus years. He agreed to fix the Jeep, but he is also not happy.
He said Gallagher brought the car to his shop months ago; they completely fixed it and asked Gallagher to come pick it up for $3,500. He never did, he also won’t pay for the repair.
The owner said he didn’t have space to hold the car any longer. So, he got a hold of Robertson, the owner of the car.
“I now know where my vehicle is at, and I’m going to go talk to this gentleman after I leave here today,” said Robertson.
Now, Timothy is working to get the $3,500 to go get his car. But at that point, he will be out $10,000 once he picks up his Jeep.
Gallagher was on the phone with KFOR and admitted he hasn’t been able to pick up the car because he does not have the funds.
“It’s been done for four months, and I just have not had the money to pick it up. And Tim knows where it’s been,” said Gallagher, on the phone.
However, Tim Robertson said that’s not true. The letter was the first clue to where his Jeep went.
“This has been just a headache dealing with this guy because I never knew when he was telling me the truth or what was a story,” said Robertson.
Former employees of Gallagher’s came to News 4 after watching our original story.
David Rodgers and his son-in-law, Isaiah Mooney, said they worked at Jones Auto and claim Gallagher owes both of them thousands of dollars.
“He came up with $186 the other day and gave it to us… And I gave him a hundred, and I took $86,” said David Rodgers, former Jones Auto employee.
Rodgers said Gallagher owes him $2,800 for work he has done at Jones Auto. He only picked up the job in the first place to make some extra money to help pay for his wife’s medical bills.
“She’s very, very, very sick… It’s to make sure my wife meets her test and with the specialist and to give her the care that she needs,” said Rodgers.
Mooney says Gallagher owes him over $1,500.
“I quit working there probably four months ago because it got to a point where I couldn’t even buy my daughter stuff. Now, she’s living with her mom,” said Isaiah Mooney, former Jones Auto employee.
Both of them say they’ve just been given excuse after excuse.
“He gives you a date. When that time comes, it just – poof, it’s all gone. ‘I had to pay rent at the shop. I had to pay rent at the house.’ You know, uh, ‘Pam needs this. Pam needs that.’” said Rodgers.
Pam is Kirby’s wife. Rodgers and Mooney are now taking this to small claims court, but they are also including Pam in the lawsuit since they’ve been told she’s the one who writes the checks.
“Every time we asked. ‘I got to talk to Pam.’ ‘Yeah, I’ll get Pam to write you a check. It’ll be here tomorrow,’” said Rodgers.
Gallagher is once again taking responsibility and told KFOR he does owe them money. He said he plans to pay them back, but claims he doesn’t owe them thousands of dollars.
“That’s just, that is a blatant lie… I’ll tell you straight up everything I’ve done wrong… And it’s a real stupid a** business decision… But David Rogers is not over $2,000,” said Gallagher, on the phone.
Gallagher agreed to meet us in the KFOR parking lot. He brought a friend with him but said he does not want to go on camera. However, he answered some tough questions.
“I plan on paying anybody that I owe money back. But like I said, to get started again, it’s going to take some time,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher explained again the situation with his former employees, Rogers and Mooney.
“We don’t get paid till the job’s done. People give a little parts money upfront, but nobody gets paid until the car is finished and the customer pays us. And the problem with that is the rent, the bills and everything still goes on and you have four or five cars that you’re working on, and you have thousands tied up in parts and they don’t pick them up or they don’t pay you. It’s hard to pay your employees on time. And I’ve been late paying them. And people that know me know I usually end up doing what I say I’m going to do. Sometimes it takes a while,” said Gallagher.
One of Gallagher’s workers, Talyn Donaruma, backed up Gallagher’s claim and said it may take him a while to pay his employees, but he always does.
“It might not be on time every time, but I get paid. Eventually I get my money,” said Talyn Donaruma, Gallagher’s current employee.
As for Robertson’s Jeep, Gallagher said, “It had a motor in it that really was condemned and I should have never taken on motor work when I do body work… I had a mechanic pull it out. I paid to pull it out. I paid to have a motor, but the motor was incorrect. I took his motor, had bottom and work done to it and then took it to my friend… But obviously I couldn’t pay for it, and it jumped to $3,500 with storage… I’m going to pay him back, I don’t know when. But I know I will. I just don’t know how at this point in time.”
KFOR did some digging and found Gallagher has been arrested in Ohio and Texas. In Ohio, he did prison time.
Below is a conversation between KFOR’s Taylor Mitchell and Kirby Gallagher:
Mitchell: Can I ask if you’ve ever been arrested?
Gallagher: Yeah, I have.
Mitchell: Did you do any time?
Gallagher: Yes, I did.
Mitchell: What was it for?
Gallagher: Stupid stuff. There’s no drugs or theft or nothing like that. It was misuse of property.
Mitchell: That’s it?
Gallagher: Yeah. That’s it.
However, according to BeenVerified, Gallagher has been has arrested for theft, misuse of credit cards, passing bad checks and more in Ohio. He was also arrested in Dallas County for theft.
Mitchell: So anything in Texas? Dallas.
Gallagher: Oh, drag racing and street fights, you know, stuff like that.
Those affected are warning to take your cars to trustworthy shops.
“I would definitely make sure that I check out the person before I can trust on money and, you know, investing my money into that person and hoping that they’re going to do the job and their word actually means something,” said Robertson.
Jones Auto’s former employees are just wanting some sort of resolution.
“We’re even willing to take a loss just to get it over with… To get him out of my life I’m willing to take $1,200,” said Rodgers.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, an Oklahoma City lawyer says there are options.
You can file a small claims lawsuit, a regular civil docket depending on how much money you are going after, or you can file a complaint with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office under the Consumer Protection Division.
“Oklahoma law allows a consumer to pursue a small claims action against a body shop or an auto shop that fails to return the vehicle back to you after several months or if they keep the money and without providing the services to the consumer… The important thing is keep good records, right? Keep your receipts. Keep your invoices. Any type of communication that you have had, any kind of promises that you’ve gotten from the shop,” said Vivid Niroula, attorney in Oklahoma City at Niroula Law, PLLC.