FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg is suing the owners of a Florida auto restoration company,…
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg is suing the owners of a Florida auto restoration business, claiming they stole $125,000 by falsely promising him a like-new 1957 Mercedes-Benz and then using his money for personal purposes. expenses.
Weinberg is seeking $375,000 from Arthur Siegle, his family members and their Investment Auto Group Inc. in a lawsuit filed Sunday in Palm Beach County. The Mercedes-Benz 190SL roadster they claimed they could deliver had significant damage and rust, and they knew it couldn’t be restored to new condition when they accepted Weinberg’s $125,000 deposit nearly three years ago, according to the lawsuit.
A subsequent law enforcement investigation concluded that the Siegles used little or no money from Weinberg’s bond to restore the car, but instead paid off their credit cards and made deposits on personal accounts. No criminal charges have been filed.
“I guess they thought he was Max Weinberg, the million-dollar drummer for Bruce Springsteen, Mighty Max. He can afford to lose $125,000,” Weinberg’s attorney, Valentin Rodriguez, said Tuesday.
Siegle “thought he could cheat on someone pretty famous and wealthy, but Max wasn’t just going to sit back and take it,” Rodriguez said. He said Weinberg was not an expert on vintage cars, but had always wanted to own one.
Peter Weintraub, the Siegles’ attorney, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Weinberg, 72, is the longtime drummer for Springsteen’s E Street Band and fronted Conan O’Brien’s band when he hosted “Late Night” and “The Tonight Show.” The musician is currently touring with his own show, Max Weinberg’s Jukebox. He is suing under a Florida law that allows treble damages for intentional theft.
According to the lawsuit, Weinberg says that in April 2021, he contacted Siegle and his son, Stuart Siegle, about a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL that he believed he was restoring. The 190SL is a convertible manufactured from 1955 to 1963.
Weinberg says he told the Siegles he wanted a Mercedes that he could enter at Concours-level shows, which feature cars that have been restored to new or better condition using almost entirely original parts. The Siegles assured him that the 190SL they were restoring would meet those standards and be a “work of art” and “the best of the best,” he says.
He paid them $125,000, a deposit on the sale price of $225,000. The balance would be paid once the car is completed.
Within weeks, Weinberg became concerned about the car and hired an expert to inspect it in the Siegles workshop. Expert Pierre Hedary found significant rust, poorly executed welds, evidence of an accident and several other major problems. He said the car wasn’t even a 1957 as the Siegles claimed, but a 1956.
In a report filed with the lawsuit, Hedary wrote that once restored, the car could be driven and impress laymen, but would not pass the scrutiny of high-level car shows. He estimated its restored value at $120,000, about half of what the Siegles claimed.
He said the Siegles’ statements about the car being a “work of art” and “the best of the best” are often “the most blatant form of buffoonery, unfortunately sometimes demonstrated in the classic/vintage automobile industry.” .
When the Siegles refused to refund Weinberg’s money, he filed a complaint with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
In a 2022 report filed with the lawsuit, Detective Scott Schaefer wrote that his investigation showed that after receiving the money from Weinberg, the Siegles deposited almost all of the money into personal accounts, with nearly $50,000 covering credit cards and other personal payments.
“I have not found any transactions that could have been attributed to work performed on (Weinberg’s) vehicle,” Schaefer wrote.
He said it was possible they paid for the coins in cash, but he saw no evidence of that.
Schaefer wrote that when he confronted Arthur Siegle about Weinberg’s accusations, he responded, “I have no idea what this guy is complaining about and I really don’t care.” »
Schaefer recommended that Arthur Siegle be charged with grand theft. The Broward State Attorney’s Office said Tuesday the case remains under investigation.
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