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Sheriff rips dealer over warranty

Staff writer

Sheriff Jeff Soyez complained to county commissioners Monday that Midway Motors isn’t honoring its warranty on the motor of one of his department’s vehicles.

Midway contends the motor’s problems were caused by a hose coming off the oil cooler.

The department purchased the Durango new. It came with a 100,000-mile warranty. It now has 62,420 miles on it.

“I think a 100,000-mile warranty is a 100,000-mile warranty,” Soyez said. “I’m very upset about this.”

It would cost the sheriff’s department $10,600 to replace the engine, he said.

“How do you know something in the motor didn’t build up pressure that caused the hose to pop off?” Soyez said.

Oil cooler hoses have been replaced on five Durangos the department owns, Soyez said.

He asked Midway to appeal to Chrysler, but said, “They told me they’ll probably deny me.”

Durangos are popular with law enforcement, probably because the price is lower than comparable vehicles, but have been riddled with problems, he said.

“There’s three, four years of Durangos that have been out and used by law enforcement, and they’re absolutely junk,” Soyez said.

Sometimes when a deputy shuts off a Durango and goes inside to write a report, the deputy comes back to the parking lot to discover the Durango running.

When Midway told him the warranty would not be honored, Soyez told Midway that he would go in front of 12,000 taxpayers and tell them what the warranty is worth.

“I think the taxpayer ought to know what kind of deal they’re getting out of it,” Soyez said. “This goes back to the simple answer of doing good business, and that’s not good business.”

Gabe Goering, general manager of Midway Motors, said after the meeting that he understood Soyez’s frustration.

“Our records show the vehicle being in our shop only when it was delivered to the dealership brand new,” Goering said. “The service center dealt with Chrysler on the repairs, and Chrysler declined to pay for the repairs because the vehicle had been driven with the oil cooler hose disconnected.”

Goering said he would continue to deal with Chrysler on the needed repairs.

“I’m going to go back and plead the case to Chrysler,” he said.

He said he wanted to find a resolution for the county because emergency vehicles were important.

“I get it,” he said.

Soyez told commissioners he would look into how to pay for repairs.

“This isn’t to ask you for money,” he told commissioners.

After Soyez left, commissioners warned John Deardoff, government adviser for the League of Kansas Municipalities, that the chair he would sit in would be steaming hot.

Deardoff was at the meeting discuss candidates for a county administrator position. The discussion took place during an hour-long closed-door session.

Deardoff told commissioners in July that it would take 10 to 12 weeks to find candidates.

Commissioner David Crofoot said after the meeting that commissioners reviewed five candidates and would schedule interviews with them.

In other business, commissioners once again cast a split 4-1 vote to move forward with architectural plans for a new health department building. Commissioner Kent Becker was opposed.

Becker has argued that any new health department became an object of discussion that any new building should be in Hillsboro instead of Marion.

The proposed 5,000-square-foot building would be at the former site of the county food bank. 1220 E. Main St. in Marion.

Alloy Architecture estimates the cost at $1.3 million to $1.5 million, depending on whether the building is wood-framed or metal-framed.

“Now we’re looking at that the next step would be, what would be involved,” commission chairman Dave Mueller said.

Alloy’s Chris Tillison said plans for heating and cooling as well as plumbing and interior design would be included in the new phase of the project.

Tillison said plans would be presented to commissioners three times.

A decision whether Alloy will oversee the construction will need to be made within nine weeks.

Alloy’s charge for Stage 3 will be $80,900.

Last modified Nov. 8, 2023

 

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