By Mike Smith
The Duncan Banner
A judge agreed to a sale of the troubled Mike Terry auto dealerships in Duncan late Friday, with Randy Byford — owner of the Byford Auto dealership in Chickasha — as a new investor and in line to take over operations.
The order by Stephens County District Court Judge Joe Enos says Terry has severed most of his financial interests and claims in the dealerships, which have been in financial straights as Terry and a group of investors who tried to oust him battled in court.
The order says without a sale on an emergency and expedited basis, the dealerships would have to stop all operations, “which would have a negative effect on the companies, its employees and creditors.”
The deal assumes that Byford and other investors pay a floor line of credit of about $16 million and arrange to pay a loan of $4.2 million, or get Terry released from his obligation as a guarantor of that loan. The transactions are still under supervision of Enos’ court.
Enos had appointed Michael Deeba of Oklahoma City as a receiver on Aug. 12, giving him control of assets and operations in hopes of keeping the dealerships from going under.
Enos has said it was important to save the dealerships — Mike Terry Chevrolet-Buick-GMC on U.S. Highway 81 and Mike Terry Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram at the Duncan/Lawton Y — for employees and the community .
Enos agreed later to let Deeba borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars from the original investors to keep the dealerships going.
Ally Financial Inc., the secured lender of the dealerships, had served notice of default and Deeba said he was unable to pay operating expenses on a current basis and that situation was expected to continue.
Deeba initially proposed selling the dealership assets through a competitive bidding process, but notified the court late Thursday that it was not possible.
That’s because he determined “that the accounting records of the companies were in such disarray that no meaningful financial information” could be given to interested parties in a competitive bidding process, according to court records.
The sale creates a new group of investors that include Byford and David Le Norman or his company — Le Norman Properties, LLC, and a group of the original investors that does not include Terry.
Byford was contacted by The Banner late Friday afternoon but said it would be inappropriate to comment until a later time.
He has some family ties to Stephens County, has owned the Byford Buick GMC dealership in Chickasha since 2007 and has been involved in that community.
Le Norman Properties is based in Oklahoma City and engages in oil and gas exploration, according to its website.