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Lockport car dealership owner arrested by Secretary of State police

LOCKPORT – A Lockport car dealership owner was arrested by the Secretary of State police over several alleged violations concerning his business.

Joe Tessone, owner of Tessone Motor Sales, 1801 S. State St., allegedly did not give four people titles for their vehicles, did not maintain records of dealer plates assigned to him and entered information on temporary registration permits into the Secretary of State’s database.

The violations were uncovered by a Secretary of State police investigation Monday. Elmer Garza, a police lieutenant with the state agency, said the investigation was sparked by several customer complaints.

Tessone also is allegedly tax delinquent, Garza said. As a consequence of the violations, the Secretary of State revoked his license to sell cars, he said.

“He cannot sell cars. If he does, it’s a violation of being an unlicensed dealer,” Garza said.

Garza said the failure to transfer titles violation is a citation and the rest are misdemeanors.

A representative at Tessone Motor Sales said Tessone was unavailable Wednesday.

Tessone was processed Monday at the Lockport Police Department and released on his own recognizance, Garza said.

Tessone Motor Sales does not have a certificate of good standing with the Secretary of the State.

Tessone and his dealership are being sued for about $29,724 by accounting firm Cukierski & Cochrane. The lawsuit filed in Will County on July 5 alleges Tessone agreed to pay the firm $42,128 with interest on a monthly basis but failed to do so.

The dealership also has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit focused on consumer protection.

Four complaints were filed with BBB in the past three years regarding billing and collection issues, delivery issues and problems with product and service.

A review from “T.M.” posted on BBB on March 16, 2016, criticized Tessone Motor Sales for “blatantly rude” staff and being dirty and “unprofessional.”

“They take advantage of young people with no [credit], sell them a car worth far less than the value and treat you rudely because your choices are limited, otherwise you wouldn’t be there,” the reviewer said.

The reviewer also said Tessone allegedly yelled at them and hung up when he was asked about the delay in getting permanent plates the reviewer’s son’s car. The delay had apparently gone on for months after the car’s purchase.