Shortly thereafter, we received a tip regarding a former town truck being seen around town. We did our homework and lo and behold, it would be the same truck that was traded in to Steet-Ponte on March 29, 2008.
First of all, even though Steet-Ponte took possession of the truck on March 29, 2008, the town board didn't declare the truck surplus until April 9, 2008, but what else is new? Board resolution:
REGULAR TOWN BOARD MEETINGAnyway, getting back to our story. We looked up the VIN number of the trade-in truck on CARFAX and found out that the truck was turned in to Steet-Ponte on March 29, 2008 and then Steet-Ponte turned around and sold the vehicle to someone else on April 7, 2008...a week later. The truck was actually registered and back on the road April 8, 2008...a day before it was declared surplus by the town board!
April 9, 2008
Declaration of Surplus Vehicle – Authorization for Trade-in
Upon request of the Highway Superintendent, the following Resolution was offered for adoption by Councilman Payne and duly seconded by Councilman Reynolds:
(RESOLUTION NO. 95 OF 2008)
RESOLVED that the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford does hereby declare as surplus the following Highway Department vehicle:
Year Make/Model VIN
2005 Ford Pick-up Truck 1FTNF2159EB69664
And be it
FURTHER RESOLVED that the aforesaid vehicle is hereby authorized as a trade-in vehicle with regard to the January 22, 2008 Bid Opening for purchase of a 2008 Pick-up Truck; the Town Clerk’s office shall arrange to terminate insurance coverage on said vehicle.
So...? Well, the funny thing is that we FOILed the bids and one bid included a trade-in value for the truck of $6,500 and the other trade-in value was $10,000. Hmmm! Don't all car dealers use either the Kelley Blue Book or NADA to determine values? That's quite a difference in trade-in value.
What if we told you that the CARFAX report (report starts at the bottom of page 1) showed that the truck was in two (2) accidents involving other vehicles during the time that the town owned it.
What if we told you that the truck was originally purchased from Steet-Ponte and serviced at Steet-Ponte while it was owned by the town?
What if we told you that Steet-Ponte submitted the bid with the $10,000 trade-in value for the Ford truck?
What if we told you the person that purchased the truck one (1) week after it was traded in was not only a relative of the Highway Superintendent, but also a town employee in the Highway Dept. that wanted the truck for his landscaping business he runs on the side?
Do you think the fact that Steet-Ponte offered $3,500 more for a trade-in than the other bidder had anything to do with the fact that Steet-Ponte probably knew ahead of time that they had a willing buyer just waiting in the wings? Could it be the other bidder was a little low on the trade-in value because they were unsure how long they might have to hang on to a truck that had been in two (2) accidents and still had quite a bit of damage to the drivers side and behind the rear wheel of the passenger side?
Is it us or does Steet-Ponte seem to always submit the winning bids in the Town of New Hartford? Just sayin...