SAN ANTONIO – The owner of a south San Antonio body shop has been accused in separate lawsuits filed by former customers this fall of accepting money to refurbish classic cars and then returning vehicles that were missing parts and damaged, records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.
Jaime Negrete, owner of Alamo City Kustumz, has been named as the defendant along with his company in the suits, filed less than a month apart in Bexar County state district court and Bexar County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.
“I trusted this man and he just took me for everything. Not only that, but he gave me a car that was not safe whatsoever,” said Angie Moore, whose 1970 Chevrolet Impala sat on jacks at her and her husband’s feed store during an interview with KSAT earlier this year.
The couple purchased the car from a customer of their store for $2,000 before deciding to take it to Negrete, a fellow Southside business owner.
“Why not give another Southsider our business? Keep it here, local,” said Moore, who provided KSAT invoices showing she and her husband paid $17,825 for extensive work on the classic car.
“Great, great base to work from,” said Nathan Moore, who added that the car needed a new drive-train and a suspension and a fuel injected-engine system.
But the couple said for 19 months Negrete kept “stringing it along, stringing it along.”
They said Negrete told them he was having trouble getting parts delivered and had difficulty getting technicians to program the computer of the engine, taken from a low-mileage Chevrolet Tahoe that Negrete had at his shop.
They said Negrete delivered the Impala late in the evening in October.
Angie Moore told KSAT she encountered issues with the vehicle as soon as she began driving it.
“Right away I noticed a noise coming from the passenger side,” said Angie Moore.
While she attempted to drive the car home to Devine, Angie Moore said she felt a violent shaking.
“Next thing you know I lost power to the gas. All of a sudden I just feel the brake tighten. Something’s going to happen. There’s 18-wheelers in front of me, behind me. And I panicked,” said Angie Moore.
Negrete offered to send a tow truck for the car, but the couple told KSAT they instead wanted to inspect the vehicle in the daylight.
Nathan Moore has since documented the extensive issues with the Impala, some of which the couple says were not present when they hired Negrete.
The bolts holding the upper control arms were loose and about to fall out, the car’s water hoses were crimped and smashed in, transmission lines were left hanging and not secured, the emergency brake cable system was secured with baling wire and the windshield wiper motor was taken off and in the trunk, the couple said.
Pictures of the vehicle taken after it was returned to the Moores show its oxygen sensor lines were held together with plastic zip ties, threaded clips were missing from a wheel well and the front driver’s side corner of the vehicle appeared to have been bowed out.
Other parts appeared to have not been replaced and simply painted over, according to Nathan Moore.
“Didn’t even take anything apart,” said Nathan Moore, referring to the Impala’s rotors and calipers.
The shocks and springs from the vehicle appeared to be over 30 years old, even though the couple’s contract shows they paid for a complete front suspension rebuild.
The car was also returned without a new gas tank being installed, even though the records show they paid for a new tank and line replacement.
A fuel hose had simply been placed in the neck of the old gas tank, causing fuel to spill out of the back of the car when it was driven.
“Truthfully, I was lost for words. I felt like I was taken advantage of,” said Angie Moore.
Cell phone video recorded by Nathan Moore shows him confronting Negrete outside of Alamo City Kustumz regarding the fuel tank earlier this year.
After Nathan Moore asks him if they are going to get their gas tank, Negrete says he was at lunch when a company previously attempted to deliver it.
While KSAT was interviewing the Moores for this story, an employee of the body shop dropped off the new fuel tank, still in its box.
The employee told KSAT he did not want to be identified and that he had nothing to do with the dispute between Negrete and the couple.
The Moores filed a small claims lawsuit against Negrete on Nov. 7 in Bexar County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, records show.
The suit, which is not expected to have a hearing for the next several months, demands a full refund from Negrete.
Negrete has no attorney of record in the case, a JP 1 official confirmed to KSAT.
“Defendants attempted to cover up the damages with black spray paint.”
In an unrelated case, the owner of a 1952 Chevrolet pick-up truck filed suit against Negrete and his body shop on Oct. 10 in Bexar County state district court.
The suit claims Negrete failed to complete refurbishing work on a contract that had ballooned to $13,460.
The contract called for the front frame to be redone, an air suspension upgrade, whitewall tires, shifter, brakes, rotors and wood for the bed of the truck, according to the suit.
“The Defendant continued to ask for additional money to do the repairs all the while admitting that nothing was complete on the vehicle,” the suit states.
The suit claims the owner of the truck went to the shop and found that its brakes, exhaust and radiator had not been installed.
The truck also had extensive damage that was not present when it was dropped off at Alamo City Kustumz in February 2021, including broken brake lights and damage to the body caused when the truck was lifted off the ground, according to the suit.
“Defendants attempted to cover up the damages with black spray paint,” the suit states.
Negrete was served with the lawsuit on Oct. 13, but as of Wednesday, had not retained an attorney in the case, Bexar County court records show.
Negrete appears to have missed the deadline to respond to the allegations in both suits, increasing the likelihood that a default judgment could be issued against him in both cases.
KSAT attempted to stop by Negrete’s shop in the 6900 block of S. Flores Street, but the gate was locked and a sign indicated the business was open by appointment only.
Negrete did not respond to multiple calls and text messages sent to the number listed on the shop’s sign.