By Tran Longmoore, www.thesalinepost.com
The City of Saline is going after a Clare, Mich., Chevrolet dealership for allowing University of Michigan Athletics employees to use vehicles with dealer plates on a regular basis. City attorney Jessie Jack on June 3 authorized two misdemeanor complaints against McGuire Chevrolet.
On May 6, Saline Police Officer Chris Boulter stopped a vehicle for traveling 41 mph in a 25-mph zone. The vehicle, a 2017 Chevy Equinox, was driven by a 29-year-old Ypsilanti woman who is an assistant women’s basketball coach for the University of Michigan.
Police noted a dealer plate on the vehicle. Dealer plates, according to Michigan law, can only be used for up to 72 hours after purchasing and taking possession of a vehicle. The woman told police the car was issued to her by the University of Michigan Athletics Department as part of her compensation plan. She provided a blue sheet of paper from the University of Michigan indicating the vehicle was self-insured. She also presented an insurance card from a dealership that expired in October 2017. According to the police report she called McGuire Chevrolet when the license plate expired and asked what she needed to do. She told police the dealer told her to do nothing, and that they would give her a dealer plate to put on the vehicle, which she did.
The insurance card from the university quoted motor vehicle code which states the University of Michigan can self-insure vehicles if they are owned or leased by the university. The dealer plate on the vehicle was registered to McGuire Chevrolet, in Claire.
Officer Boulter advised the woman about speeding, confiscated the dealer plate and then advised the woman to contact her dealer and the University of Michigan legal department, because the university’s auto insurance was void.
A representative from the dealership contacted Saline Police the next day asking why the plate was confiscated. According to the report, the representative from McGuire Chevrolet asked Boulter why he had “such a hard on” for plate issues. According to the police report, Boulter replied that it was a scam and in which the two parties were breaking the law to avoid paying registration fees, taxes and insurance, and so the dealership could sell the used vehicle for a higher price as a demo vehicle instead of previously owned.
Boulter notified the Michigan Secretary of State, reporting that he stops dealer-owned vehicles driven by university employees two or three times a month. According to the report, the Secretary of State official asked Saline Police to continue to confiscate dealer plates and issue citations for no insurance.