As a class-action lawsuit stemming from an abrupt 2017 closure of an Ozark motorcycle dealer enters its 21st month, its owner, Nathan Powers, appears to have returned to the motorcycle sales business.
Legends Cycle, a motorcycle dealer at 5739 S. Campbell Ave., Ste. D, opened in mid-December, according to its Facebook page, Legends Cycle of Missouri. The company’s articles of organization on file with the secretary of state’s office identify Mary Powers as the organizer in July 2018.
Nathan Powers lists his title as salesman/owner of Legends Cycle on his personal Facebook page. He is the former owner of Midwest Cycle Center1 LC, Pro Action Auto LLC and Powersports LLC, which operated at 1949 W. Boat St. near Lambert’s Cafe. All three closed without notice May 23, 2017, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting at the time.
“I couldn’t have been more surprised,” said Brad Calbert of Powers’ resurgence through Legends Cycle.
As a motorcycle repairman who had one dealing with Powers at Midwest Cycle, Calbert has watched the class-action suit from afar. A Greene County Circuit Court judge’s recent actions in the suit, filed by former customers of Powers’ companies, include a temporary restraining order against Powers granted Jan. 17, and a gag order Jan. 29 to all parties.
Calbert, who owns motorcycle shop Skunkwerks LLC, said he was one of those caught unaware when Midwest Cycle closed. Around April 2017, Calbert was contacted by a Midwest Cycle customer to have some warranty repairs made on a motorcycle purchased from the shop a week or so prior. After getting permission from Powers to do the work – which Calbert said he offered at a discounted rate – repairs were made, but the $500 bill was not settled.
“I reached out several times to Mr. Powers for payment,” he said, including a visit to his Ozark shop. “Most of the time he was unavailable to talk.”
Weeks later, the shop was closed and Calbert said he’s had no further interaction with Powers.
After Powers’ abrupt closings, six customers joined to file a civil suit in June 2017 against BluCurrent Credit Union, citing the financial institution’s responsibility in providing loan contracts for Midwest Cycle.
In the case, Michael Burrows et al v. BluCurrent Credit Union, Powers and his three companies were added as third-party defendants on Sept. 7, 2017, according to documents filed in Greene County Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs, defendants and attorneys are currently keeping quiet on the case, after Greene County Associate Circuit Judge Mark Powell issued the gag order at a recent hearing, according to court records.
Attorney Joshua Roberts of Roberts & Easley LLC represents the third-party defendants, and he said Jan. 29 he was unable to respond to questions regarding the case due to the gag order. Plaintiff’s attorney Greg Aleshire of Aleshire Robb & Rapp and BluCurrent legal representative Ashley Norgard of Kutak Rock LLP also cited the gag order when contacted for comment.
Attempts to reach Powers were unsuccessful through multiple emails and calls made to Legends Cycle.
On the morning of Jan. 29, just prior to the gag order, BluCurrent spokeswoman Jacqueline Post issued a statement from the company in response to SBJ’s query: “Over the past weeks, multiple false allegations have been made about BluCurrent and its relationship with Midwest Cycle Center. BluCurrent is grateful to the Greene County Circuit Court for granting an order on Jan. 17, 2019, that prohibits this wrongful conduct and looks forward to resolving this matter through the judicial process.”
Upon receiving follow-up questions to the statement, Post said via email the company would have no further comment due to the gag order.
SBJ obtained a copy from the Greene County Circuit Court of a temporary restraining order, filed Jan. 17, by BluCurrent against the third-party defendants. According to court records, Judge Powell granted the restraining order, which, in part, ordered Powers to provide a complete and accurate download of all his social media activity to Roberts, his attorney, who is to retain copies until the end of litigation. In addition, Powers was ordered to remove and delete all social media posts, comments, links, reviews and statements regarding BluCurrent by Jan. 18, and refrain from making false statements about the company or misappropriate any of its intellectual property.
SBJ’s requests for a copy of the gag order were not granted by press time. However, a court docket entry of the Jan. 29 hearing indicated the order was issued due to concerns the court had about Powers. It read, in part, “Based on the evidence heard, this court is concerned about Mr. Powers’ activity on the internet and with the local media to the point this court believes such activity would likely prejudice the rights of all parties to a fair trial. Mr. Powers acknowledges making at least one false statement about BluCurrent in comments he made to an internet website.”
BluCurrent filed a motion for contempt Jan. 22 against the third-party defendants, which is being taken under advisement by the judge, according to court records.
In additional information provided by BluCurrent officials, before the gag order, the company said it provided financing for some of Midwest Cycle’s customers as part of its indirect lending program. However, as soon as BluCurrent learned of Midwest Cycle’s sudden closure, it began working with its members to mitigate harm done by the dealer, according to the statement.
Calbert said BluCurrent officials contacted him in June 2017 to inquire about any unresolved issues he had with Powers. He told them about the $500 for warranty repairs he was never paid.
“BluCurrent went ahead and promptly took care of us,” Calbert said. “Speaking from my experience, BluCurrent went above and beyond when they probably didn’t have to.”
Since opening, Legends Cycle’s Facebook page has received 322 likes and has documented several motorcycle sales and satisfied customers pictured with their new purchases. Audrey Smith was among the customers identified, but she was unable to be reached about her experience by press time.
Powers contacted SBJ via letter Jan. 3, requesting the June 26, 2017, article, “Credit union sued after Ozark motorcycle dealer disappears,” be removed from SBJ.net or he would sue the publication for “defamation of character/libel.” The article remains posted on SBJ.net.
Aside from his motorcycle business, Powers also owns a Vacation Rental By Owner property in Nixa, listed as The Wood Haven Estate at James River. Real estate agent Tyler Richardson of Keller Williams Greater Springfield said Powers has listed the 28-acre property for sale the last roughly seven months. On Richardson’s site, Agent417.com, the 8,856-square-foot home is for sale for $1.5 million.
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