Braman BMW Forges Signatures and Swindles Customers, Says Former Service Manager

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Norman Braman
Norman Braman likes to think of himself as a man of the people. The billionaire famously sued the county and the Marlins in 2008 on behalf of taxpayers pissed off over the disastrous stadium deal. When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez raised property taxes two years later, it didn't put a dent in Braman's own bank account but he recalled Alvarez's ass anyway. Most recently, Braman has been battling Dolphins owner Stephen Ross over his request for nearly $300 million from county coffers. "This deal... is the same rip-off that the Marlins gave us only a few years ago," Braman said. "This is welfare for a multibillionaire."

But Braman's own business dealings aren't squeaky-clean either, if allegations from two of his ex-employees are to be believed. Three months after New Times first reported a lawsuit against Braman BMW for allegedly bilking customers, another former employee is leveling more serious charges against the auto dealership, including $10 million fraud, forgery, and wrongfully firing employees who complained.

Braman declined to comment on the accusations. In a prior interview, however, he denied that his dealership had defrauded customers or car manufacturers and instead blamed "disgruntled employees."

Juan Carlos Gonzalez worked as a manager at Braman BMW on Biscayne Boulevard for more than eight years. The son of a member of the 2506 Brigade that landed at the Bay of Pigs, Gonzalez says he was fired last July after complaining about financial shenanigans.

Like Ulises Ruiz, who was fired from Braman BMW in March 2012 and drafted a suit last October (he was forced to enter arbitration and settle out of court), Gonzalez says it was company policy to order unnecessary auto repairs. Often, he says, supposedly broken parts weren't replaced, and if a car was under warranty, BMW would pick up the tab. If not, the customer got screwed. Gonzalez says Braman BMW employees even faked customer signatures.

"I've been witness to a systematic and deliberate process of forged customer signatures," he says.

JC Gonzalez Braman.jpg
Juan Carlos "JC" Gonzalez during his days at Braman BMW.
When BMW auditors would visit every couple of years, Braman managers used a secret room to doctor the repair orders, Gonzalez says. "Instead of pulling those repair orders... they were taken to the secret room and checked for omissions." Suspicious documents would have cost Braman up to $300,000 in fines, Gonzalez says. "What happened when BMW finally got the documents? They were perfect."

Braman BMW employees also deleted complaints from the computer system and even paid customers for positive reviews, Gonzalez says, to maintain a lucrative customer-service rating with BMW.

Gonzalez's lawsuit claims he was the victim of discrimination because of his age (54) and Cuban origins.

And when he filed suit in February, his former bosses whipped out an arbitration agreement with his name on it. The only problem, Gonzalez says, is that his signature was forged -- just like on the repair orders.

In addition to his lawsuit, Gonzalez says he plans to talk to state and federal authorities. "The community needs to know about all this fraud," he says. "There is a lot of evidence. I'm just going to tell them were to look."

Gonzalez and Ruiz both say BMW is conducting its own investigation of the auto dealership. However, the car company declined to comment to Riptide.

"Braman always projects an image that he cares for the people of Miami-Dade, but look at the way he treats his employees," Gonzalez says. "He loves to go the courthouse and sue everybody, but he denies his employees that same right."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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51 comments
kassyvlz
kassyvlz

who the lawyer in this case

verde1131
verde1131

My lady is a current employee of this particular location. Based on the stories she tells, I can say 2 things. 1st. I believe that something shady is going in with the higher ups in that location-they seem to bend the rules always to favor the company tho. 2nd the extreme disrespect displayed from the managers to the employees leads one to believe they're carelessness towards the law, customers, and moral right is hidden behind bramans pull and stature in the city of miami.. im suprised that people didnt see this coming when over half the billionaires gey away with these things all the time.

KRCPFB
KRCPFB

The things I've seen & the things I see, everything said is completely true! It's happening right now even with the new management, some say the new manager feeds specific advisors & allows them to falsify repairs. Oh and the comment about Ivan Jimenez is spot on! This guy is the biggest ass kissing snitch known to man. People I speak because I know the truth!!!!! It'll come out soon & by then we'll all be gone!

servicebmwnow
servicebmwnow

I AM FRIENDS WITH EVERYONE AND ITS SAD TO SAY BUT WHAT MR. RUIZ AND GONZALES HAVE SAID IS TRUE. THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO BITE THE HANDS THAT BETRAYED THEM. THE STORY IS SO TRUE THAT ROUCO IS SO AFRAID THAT HE HAS UNLEASHED HIS HANDFUL OF ATTACK DOGS TO TRASH ULI AND JC. THE SAME ADVISOR ATTACK DOGS HE SENT ACROSS THE STREET AS THATIS HIS TACTIC. JUST THE WAY HE DID IT TO WOODY, MCCORMICK, KASTEN, HENRY, DENNIS. THE SAD PART IS 900 EMPLOYEES WE ARE FORCED TO WAIVE OUR RIGHTS TO WORK HERE. WE CAN BE DISCRIMINATED BECAUSE OF OUR AGE RACE OR THE COLOR OF OUR SKINS AND THEY DO TREATS US LIKE MODERN DAY SLAVES BUT PAY US BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO. WHAT WE NEED AT BRAMAN IS THE UNIONS TO PROTECT OUT RIGTHS. SAY YES TO THE UNIONS FOR BETTER PAY AND DIGNATY. THE POST BELOW I KNOW FOR A FACT IS FROM JEFF MAYORGA ONE OF ROUCOS ATTACK DOGS ASS KISSERS, JEFFREY IS NOW THE SERVICE MANAGER AT DORAL LINCOLN AND ALWAYS HATED JC EVEN THOUGH JC WOULD LET HIM LEAVE EARLY EVERY TIME JEFFREY ASKED HIM. JC WOULD OFTEN BUY US HAM CROQUITTES FROM ISLA DE CANARY AND JEFFREY WOULD STUFF HIS FAT FACE AND LEAVE MANY OF WITHOUT A SNACK, JC EVEN LOANED HIM, JEFFREY WOULD STEAL OTHER ADVISORS APPOINTMENTS ANDS EVEN OF HIS OWN PARTNER. HE IS A FAT GREEDDY MEAN SPRITED SLUG. MY FRIEND WORKS AT THE TAX OFFICE IN FT. LAUDERDALE WHERE ALOT OF THE SERVICE PEOPLE DO THEIRETAXES AND SHE TELLS ME ROUCO WANT TO SKIP OTHERS IN LINE AND JEFFREY WAS AN ASSHOLE TO HER. BOTH ARE TAX CHEATS LYING ON THEIR TAX RETURN. THEY SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT AN TAX AUDIT. SORRY DOG, BUT EVERYONE KNOWS WHATS GOING ON HERE JEFFREY JUST LIKE EVERYONE NOW YOU AND YOUR WIFE ARE SWINGERS, YOU’VE INVINTED THREE OF YOUR FRIENDS FOR A SWAP AND THE REASON YOU ARE ALWAYS LEAVING WORK EARLY IS TRYING TO CATCH YOUR WIFE IN THE ACT, NOT THAT YOU MIND JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT THERE, AFTERALL EVERONE KNOWS YO LIKE TO WATCH DOG. 

rickfris
rickfris

I worked for Braman for years, I did good work and they paid me what they said they would, most honest shop I ever worked at, You want to see crooks, check Toyota, talk about not needed repairs. I was told no matter what the brakes looked like, If the car has more than 20K since brakes sell pads or get fired

Maximos
Maximos

Well it seams that you are all very aware of what's goes on at Braman BMW . Now wonder if Braman himself is aware of what goes on or if upper management just stays quiet and settles with the noise makers every time something like this comes to light ?

aaaa
aaaa

All I can say is BMW pays braman makes lots and lots of money for warranty repairs that are simply not true. Shamely some of the cars that really need repairs are not fixed to control warranty index.) That allows for more smoking to be done by the techs. Service Director is well aware of the smoking that goes on in the shop and controls the index on a month to month. Basically let them charge bmw but fly under the radar to avoid audits. Makes him the $$$ and the store. Employees are not the ones who benefit from this at all.. BMW pays the dealer 159.00 an hour rate + 100 % markup on the parts while the advisor only makes $7.00. Now ask your self who really benefits??

Marc007
Marc007

Ps: thank god Jeff Mayorguts is gone - lots if assholes. His new boss needs to know he got the ultimate viper. This place is messed up... I'm out

Marc007
Marc007

Corruption from the GM and let's not forget our boss, who not only steals from BMW but from customers and us, every year cutting out pay to line his pockets to the tune of $405,000 per year and blowing it on a $15,000.00 bike, booze, drugs and girls. I think most of us are good employees but the management needs to go from the GM down. Look how our GM treats us like slave dogs. I agree the Feds need to cone in, I'm tired of them short changing my pay. If the economy wasn't so bad ill get another job but thess greedy fat cats know it and abuse us. Time for the union to cone to Braman if anything this article sheds light on the arbitration agreement which means we have no right to sue for anything not even discrimniation abuse of any kind.

Marc007
Marc007

Ivan the snake Jimenez you need to go home and take care of your wife, rather than sleeping around with your other girls player. Maybe I will mail your wife the names of your side girls. and phobe numbers. You snitch kiss ass from West Kendalll. And if you go upstairs on me again then I will.

Marc007
Marc007

Name withheld: I work at Braman located in Miami so I know what's going on. Everyone here knows the RAT is IVAN JIMENEZ a so called service consultant. This guy kisses ass with upper management and snitches on us all while stealing from Braman. You ain't clean buddy.

ecarracedo11
ecarracedo11

Lady c32, no vendetta, just know a lot about JC, he is an a..hole. I don't work there. I dont know Norman Braman, and I don't care about him. But.... Don't spit against the wind!. JC admits knowing details of what was done to get more money . So he's guilty. Now, Braman new cheap ass managers are screwing the employees out of hard earn money, by changing the pay scale and saying is better. 

So I hope all the right persons, Braman, JC, and the rest, get what they deserve.

LadyQ
LadyQ

I used to service my BMW there and can tell you the biggest snake there is a fat Ivan Jimenez . This guy tried to charge me $2400 for an AC repair then offered to do it on the side for half and demanded cash upfront. Went to South Motors and they fixed for free as goodwill.

queloque2561
queloque2561

This is not to be blamed on Mr. Braman himself or the employees. This is a case Of greed that exist among management level employees. They are all like politicians, cash out while they can and go. There are very honest people who work there, and have also been there a long time and they are not compesated like they should because Of management pocketing all the loot

lindaC32
lindaC32

Braman, Ken Hart, Jorge Roco, JC they are all snakes

lindaC32
lindaC32

@ecarracedo11ecarredo11 

OK It's clear you have a personal vendetta with this guy and know what he earned so you must be on the payoll. His bosses must have nade millons so they are all snakes include you. Mr. M.   Time will tell the whole story and how far this goes up. As you you get some construction paper and crayons... 


ecarracedo11
ecarracedo11

JC is another snake in the grass. But he'll soon find out he's stepped on a very pissed off Jew with money to burn,Braman is a King Cobra, and they eat snakes . JC will find out that's he's liable too for keeping silence while benefiting from the situation. Braman lawyers will tear him apart. Time will tell. For now, his JC the hypocrite.

ecarracedo11
ecarracedo11

"Being a witness does not mean you committed a crime", my rear, LindaC32. JC made over $150,000 per year in this job, and if it was a salary, it was based on what Braman Motors produced under his supervision. So, he's no innocent bystander. He could have quit his job and go to another company that does not do what he claims went on while he was in charge. JC is just as rotten and guilty, and he should be liable too for what he didn't report to anyone.

lindaC32
lindaC32

I used to work at Braman and can tell you the store General Manager treats people like dogs. Greed is the policy and discrimination is still alive and well. I was there in 2003 when the Mr. Hen Hart fired 29 employees one day all minorites and over the age of forty and laughed about it calling it heyday. As for his service director george roco, please everyone knows the rips the story, and its bad.  

lindaC32
lindaC32

Seems these type of things, many people are involved. Being a witness does not mean you committed a crime, stepping forward and up is everyones right under the whistle blowers laws. Many people are caught in the same dilema, I say congrats to Mr. Gonzalez for the courage to step and even place his photo. The critics to me are either on the Braman payroll or idiots.   Kim29

ecarracedo11
ecarracedo11

I would like to know if JC as he's known at Braman BMW , got big commissions/financial rewards from all of these "fake signatures" and false billings submitted to BMW? If so, he's a hypocrite, because no one put a gun to his head for eight years and told him to do it. Now that he got kicked out for God knows what, he's chicken sh_i_t and rats on the hand the fed him hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this story is verified, he should also be forced to returned all of the money he "earned" by forging signatures.

I'm sure this story is also fueled by Norman Braman rivals, ie: Carlos Alvarez, Natasha Mlian, Stephen Ross and or others that want to discredit Mr Braman.

Until proven and then some, this is a hack job. Shame on you, JC!.  

felgonzalez
felgonzalez

nothing ever changes ... Braman needs to come forward and not hide  behind his  high power attorneys . It seems in the State of Florida ,being " at will work State " they can just fireyou  for anything,especially if there is a corrupt corporate culture that seeks to always protect it's image at the expense of the lowly working stiffs who do their bidding. Its kind of like a Monarchy with a King and his court . Do something out of its corrupt doings ,a nd off with his head mentality. Nothing ever changes !.... Even in so called Modern Times. We still have our Monarchs ,except they are the super rich with super influence and yes a big bag of money to silence others. Nothing eever changes! ... Alass it seems its human nature at its worse

felgonzalez
felgonzalez

nothing ever changes ... Braman needs to come forward and not hide  behind his  high power attorneys . It seems in the State of Florida ,being " at will work State " they can just fireyou  for anything,especially if there is a corrupt corporate culture that seeks to always protect it's image at the expense of the lowly working stiffs who do their bidding. Its kind of like a Monarchy with a King and his court . Do something out of its corrupt doings ,a nd off with his head mentality. Nothing ever changes !.... Even in so called Modern Times. We still have our Monarchs ,except they are the super rich with super influence and yes a big bag of money to silence others. Nothing eever changes! ... Alass it seems its human nature at its worse

internetinternet
internetinternet

Most dealerships are involved in shady stuff.  I wonder what they do with the rusty lease returns from South Beach?  Sell them at auction or keep them on the local lots? 

Truthseeker
Truthseeker

I have known many people who worked in service at dealerships all across South Florida, and this story holds true from every one of them. They all lie, cheat, and swindle their customers and moreso the companies who foot the bills for warranty service. Seems like this guy finally had the guts to say something about it and was fired for going against the industry. Seems like whistleblower laws should protect him, but we all know the owners of any dealership like Braman have enough money and lawyers on retainer to make just about any problem go away.

Truthseeker
Truthseeker

Didn't mean to triple post. Website has serious lag issues. My apologies.

Truthseeker
Truthseeker

This story rings true of my experiences with every dealership in South Florida. They all make their profits off of defrauding the warranty companies. I think everyone posting how this is a lie is likely on the payroll of Braman, or another local dealership standing in solidarity to keep the light of truth from shining in THEIR dark shadows. I believe Mr. Gonzalez 100% and you should too. I don't understand why the "whistleblower" laws aren't protecting his job, but when you have the kind of money these dealerships have, you have enough political influence and lawyers on retainer to make just about any problem just "go away".

lindaC32
lindaC32

Seems you are still being paid by Braman. I bet there are many many present and former employee that would say otherwise. I believe this is directed as his management team, not him personally. Everyone is entitled to their view, but in the end the facts and evidence come into play.

lindaC32
lindaC32

Seems you are still being paid by Braman. I bet there are many many present and former employee that would say otherwise. I believe this is directed as his management team, not him personally. Everyone is entitled to their view, but in the end the facts and evidence come into play.

Jerry Gonzalez
Jerry Gonzalez

Norman Braman is a pillar in this community. We should have listened to him with the Marlins shit. He is laughing at all of us now.

Burbank Okuda
Burbank Okuda

I worked for this company and I can tell you without a doubt that Braman BMW has and always insisted that everything was done right and according to all federal and state laws. Whomever has stated this, you know you are lying and slanderingand liabiling. I got my first chance to sell luxury cars when women were treated like something you wiped off the bottom of your shoe because of Braman BMW. Armando our finance, the best in the business, who trained me and others on the laws and how to treat a customer with respect and dignity. Pedro Gonzalez, who never allowed disrespect toward a customer. He trained me and gave me opportunity and sent me forward into my automotive career. Mr. Braman's daughter Debbie came in and became my hero showing me how women can suceed in the automobile industry. Not once in my tenure at Braman BMW was I asked to falsify anything, treat a customer with disrespect nor was treated in anyway other than with total respect. Shame on you for printing such rubbish without total and complete investigation and interviewing those of us who have long left the employment of Braman and are still appaluding our good fortune to have been trained and respected there. i am honored to have been a Braman BMW salesperson and every customer there should feel the same.

David Alejandro
David Alejandro

I wonder who is behind this story ?? Dolphins or Marlins ??

Lynne Dear
Lynne Dear

Norman Braman used to visit Austin Burke in the old days, when I lived and worked for Mr. Burke... Those two were the weirdest men..

Joe LaDuca
Joe LaDuca

Looks like someone didn't get their Chanukah bonus.

KRCPFB
KRCPFB

You sir have dreams of grandeur!

rickfris
rickfris

@aaaa

BMW is a very Intelligent company, they compare all Centers warranty per capa. they can tell if a center is cheating or stealing. warranty mark-up is around 30%. 

I think there's a lot of sour grapes here

NoneOfYourBusiness
NoneOfYourBusiness

@Marc007 Maybe instead of raising your whining flag against your supposed "co-workers and bosses" you should concentrate on your WORK. You must benew to this game because in the auto industry no one watches over you to baby you people work on commission and are there to make MONEY. Just because you are such a whining cry baby does not give you the right to SLANDER Jimenez and "Maryorguts". Grow a pair and realize that you can not remain anonymous in such a small industry. 

rickfris
rickfris

@LadyQ South is great, good people, Dan Warren does a great job

lindaC32
lindaC32

@ecarracedo11ecarredo11 

It's clear you have a personal vendetta with this guy and know what he earned so you must be on the payoll. His bosses must have nade millons so they are all snakes include you. Mr. M.   Time will tell the whole story and how far this goes up. As you you get some construction paper and crayons... 

KRCPFB
KRCPFB

So you agree shady practices occurred and still occur at Braman BMW!

rickfris
rickfris

@KRCPFB Are you kidding? What kind of stupid statement is that?

KRCPFB
KRCPFB

This sounds like either our manager or Ivan Jimenez, which by the way we're still trying to figure out who sucks who's D--k!

KRCPFB
KRCPFB

Ask that same question to those who worked & still work there. Lets see what BMW says about honesty. I hope they clean up all the garbage "management" that thinks the same way you do Mayorguts!

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