The Scientology Money Project

GPB Capital Sells Prime Auto Group for $880 Million to Group 1 Automotive

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal PRO Private Equity:

Private-equity firm GPB Capital Holdings LLC, currently facing fraud allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission and more than a half-dozen states, is selling its Prime Automotive Group of car dealerships for about $880 million.

The sale to Houston-based Group 1 Automotive Inc. by GPB Automotive Portfolio LP, the entity formed by the New York firm for its auto dealer assets, includes 30 stores and three collision repair shops in mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets, according to a regulatory filing Monday.

David Gentile’s GPB Capital Holdings began as private equity firm whose sole purpose was to acquire automotive dealerships. These dealerships were purchased with investor funds raised by GPB Automotive Portfolio LP. The dealerships were held by a GPB holding company called Prime Automotive Group. By 2017, Prime Automotive Group was ranked as the 10th largest automotive dealership in the US.

Prime Automotive Group was the crown jewel of GPB Capital Holdings. Nevertheless, GPB Capital was racked with lawsuits over its automotive dealership holdings. Former GPB exec and automotive veteran Patrick Dibre sued GPB. Dibre was the first person to publicly allege in his lawsuit that GPB Capital was a Ponzi scheme. David Rosenberg, who had sold his car dealerships to GPB Capital, also sued the firm and alleged serious financial misconduct.

The dam broke as securities law firms began suing GPB Capital on behalf of investors who had been harmed. The FBI raided GPB Capital’s office in February 2019. Lead by Massachusetts, almost a dozen States Attorneys General sued GPB Capital for securities violations in the wake of the FBI raid. The SEC followed with its own civil lawsuit against Scientologist David Gentile’s corrupt firm.

Axios  noted a significant increase in the value of auto dealerships since 2019:

The bottom line: “The value of the average dealership in the U.S. ranged from $20 million to $25 million in June, including real estate, or about 33% more than at the end of 2019. Industry consulting firm Kerrigan Advisors recently estimated there were 289 dealership acquisitions last year, with the count rising 27% this year through the first half,” the Wall Street Journal’s Ted Bunker writes.

David Gentile is yet another story of a person who would have made a fortune if he had made the decision to be a legitimate entrepreneur. Instead, Gentile and his inner circle were greedy and decided to engage in criminal activities as alleged in their indictments.

Scientology did not help David Gentile to lead a more ethical, honest, or sane life. Rather, Scientology seems to have brought out the worst him. And now he faces ruin. The jet he purchased from John Staluppi is gone. He and his wife are selling their luxury home in Sheridan, Oregon. Gentile resigned as the CEO of his own company when the court-appointed monitor took over.  There is more and we will report on as developments arise.

Our question: Why did the Church of Scientology fail to stop David Gentile from his criminal path? Part of the answer comes to us from L. Ron Hubbard who instructed Scientologists to never call the police on any Scientologist who confessed to a crime, or crimes (emphasis ours):

“Handling Security Checks in a society of this particular character, then, runs into a little bit of heavy weather. And you very often run into some heavy weather. Somebody’s sitting there and, good God, they’re the fellow who did it, you know, and what are you going to do as the auditor, you know?…What is your responsibility as an auditor? Well, it’s, your responsibility as an auditor is first and foremost as an auditor, is get the person out of it. You’re not the police force. Don’t you see? And then you actually are not honor bound from that point there on to be under a stamp and seal of total secrecy with regard to the fact that the First National Bank was robbed by Joe, you see. But don’t go calling up the police. They’re on the wrong road. Cops never get a society anyplace. Cops are a short-term proposition, strictly. The more cops, the more crime.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 13, 1961

Scientologists who are criminals know their own “Church” will not call the police when they confess to their crimes during auditing or a sec check. Instead, Scientology makes money putting these people through expensive auditing and sec checks. And even better for the Church is the fact that it has the dirt on its own members. These people can never leave Scientology. They know the Church has recorded them confessing, in extreme detail, their deepest and darkest secrets. The recordings are done on digital video in full color.

See our article: Cover Ups: Why the Church of Scientology Will Not Report Felonies Committed By Its Members to the Police or any Government Agency. 

The numerous lawsuits culminated in February 2021 when Gentile, Schneider, and Lash were arrested. The trio are now preparing for criminal trial in US Federal Court where they each face serious felony charges.

We have documented the origins of GPB Capital Holdings and shown how the initial investment capital for the early car dealerships came from Rina and Diana Chernaya, the daughters of Michael Cherney who is alleged to be the head of the Russian crime family called the Isamailovskaya. We identified “RDRD Holdings” as the entity into which the alleged Russian criminal money flowed to buy the early dealerships. See our 2019 article: Ties to Russian Organized Crime Alleged in Blockbuster New Lawsuit Against Scientologist-Owned GPB Capital.

How the Chernaya money will be addressed during the criminal trial is a question GPB Capital watchers are asking.

Following the arrest and indictment of GPB’s David Gentile, Jeffry Schneider, and Jeff Lash, the court appointed Joe Gardemal to take over GPB as the monitor. In order to preserve and protect whatever investor money remains, GPB has now sold Prime Auto to Group 1 Automotive Inc. The sale was made through GPB Capital’s operating arm Highline Management.

Our prediction is that GPB’s Healthcare assets — which were shifted over to Mike Frost’s Austin Lake Technologies — will be sold off next.

Group 1 Automotive’s Press Release announcing the purchase of Prime Automotive Group:

The SEC Form 8-K filing dated September 14, 2021 constitutes the formal Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement to sell Prime Automotive to Group 1 Automotive Inc:

5 replies »

  1. 880 Million seems like far too much for 3 repair shops and 30 dealerships. That means that the 30 dealerships are worth and average of 29 million each. Doesn’t seem right, I wonder what the Feds and any creditors think?

  2. Remind me: how much did GPB pay for that? Did they actually make money or close to it? If so, then perhaps they didn’t take as much cash out of the dealerships as I would have expected. That would be worth checking on… I had presumed that GPB would strip as much cash out of the dealerships as they could to fund other misadventures like the Tampa condo tower, but if they sold for a profit, that may not have been the case.

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