Say what you will about local TV news, but KMOV (Channel 4) delivered a hell of a show yesterday when reporter Chris Nagus confronted the wife of Tadarrell Qualls, an auto-lot owner who is being sued for duping customers into buying cars without titles.
KMOV has been hounding Qualls and the north-city car dealership he manages, Exclusive Imports, for years. But when KMOV's Nagus arrived on the lot, Qualls' wife LaTashia gave him an ear full.
"I'm the mystery lady! I'm the pretty lady!" she shouts at Nagus when he asks for her name. She wasn't done yelling, either.
In March, Attorney General Chris Koster sued the dealership for its shady business practices, alleging Qualls sold numerous vehicles without providing their titles, thus forcing customers to pay for cars they can't legally register and, therefore, can't legally drive.
Having changed its name from Top Quality Auto Sales a couple years ago, Exclusive Imports presents itself as the destination for those looking for a snazzy set of wheels at a reasonable price.
According to the "About" section of his incredibly annoying website, Qualls founded the business "to combat the tricks and trades of the automotive industry to which the unsuspecting consumers are often subjected."
However, according to the Better Business Bureau, which gave the lot an "F" rating, it appears Qualls was the one dealing in tricks.
Daily RFT called up the dealership and spoke with Ivan Crockett, the owner of Exclusive Imports. He defends his business partner Qualls and says that those complaining customers, many with low credit scores, "just don't understand" the car-buying process. He declined to elaborate what that actually means.
Crockett is listed as Exclusive Import's owner. Qualls owns Top Quality Consultations Unlimited, locating customers for Crockett's cars. Both companies are listed in the state's civil suit, though Qualls is listed as a defendant by name.
Online court records suggest that Qualls should be used to this kind of thing: He's been sued several times in civil court, losing all but one case. He's had to pay out nearly $100,000 in damages and court costs.
Update: Unsurprisingly, Qualls tells much different story than the one in the lawsuit, insisting that he is the real victim of fraud, not his former customers. Read our interview here.
You can read the full text of the state's lawsuit against Qualls on the next page.