iTeam Investigation: S. Ind. Custom Car Scams


by Andy Treinen

Posted on February 17, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 17 at 7:24 PM

It’s an iTeam Investigation into a custom car repair shop in southern Indiana.

It’s an iTeam Investigation into a custom car repair shop in southern Indiana.

WHAS11's Andy Treinen took both issues and others to the company's owner.

“It's kind of tattered right now from use but plenty of people will recognize this sign here," said Kareen Shabazz.

Kareem Shabazz thinks C.K. Customs is a scam and its owner a crook last year Shabazz stood outside the business boycotting several times.

"I told him the next time he did that i would be there. You'd stand right alongside him .yes sir!" said Joyce Southerling who is one of several people who have also filed claims against the business's owner Chris Klinglesmith.

Klingelsmith says he's one of very few in Kentuckiana with the skill to properly customize some of these old cars. Shabazz took his car to C.K. Customs in August of '08. 

"This is my baby, ‘68 Cadilac Coup Deville, got a 472 in it purrs, I mean pristine car," said Shabazz.

But there's nothing pristine about Shabazz’s Cadi now. He paid Klinglesmith $4000, but after 9 months of seeing very little progress he pulled it from C.K. Customs.

"When I got to the shop they couldn't locate my parts to my car," said Shabazz, “there has been a lot of deadlines on some cars broken. That's just nothing but the truth."

Klinglesmith admits mistakes, and he says the courts will ultimately hash out who owes who what.

But the courts have already weighed in on Joyce Southerlings Cutlass.
"Her car is sitting on the side of the building over there for over 2 years now," said Klinglesmith.

He says he invested time and money in this car pulling an engine and transmission at the request of Southerling's son. But when she put the brakes on the work in September of '07 C.K. Customs parked it. 

A judge ruled in court last June that Klinglesmith had to give it back.

"I’m very frustrated you know not only with him, but with the court system. How can this keep going on and on?"

It has also gone on and on for Bruce Peyton. When we first contacted him he was upset, but now he's defending the job done on his Corvette.

"He told me four months and it's taken a year and four months but the attention to detail to this car has been awesome," said Peyton.

Klinglesmith tells me he didn't pay former employees who didn't do a good job, and as a property tenant he's moved on twice without settling up.

"Mister Ellwod, how much money does he owe you?” we asked.

Including a property he said, "$4500." He rented from a Christian church.

"Do you still owe him $4000?” we asked, “Still do it's Central Christian Church,” he answered. “When are you going to take care of that?”

Ellwood said, “Uhhhm over payments."

At this point all complaints against Klinglesmith are civil and he hopes they can close the door on them in a civil manner.

In the meantime Joyce Southerling's car still sits.

"She’s set in her ways I mean when I first met. And you are too? Well I believe I deserve what I’m owed."

We plugged C.K. Customs information into the Better Business Bureau site and we learned that Klinglesmith currently has an "F" rating.

He says a divorce he's been going through over the last few years has led to his problems.