Mark Oberholtzer has filed a lawsuit over a traded-in truck with his business name on it that ended up in the hands of ISIS.
An unfortunate picture of ISIS truck bearing his name
I’m not sure you want your truck bearing your company’s name ending up in ISIS’ hands anywhere, but if your business happens to be in Texas it’s far worse. ISIS’ propaganda machine deserves some credit for finding sympathizers and recruits through its marketing arm and online presence but that doesn’t generally reach areas outside of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
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ISIS’ support in Texas is, not surprisingly, pretty much non-existent. Hopefully, those words don’t come back to haunt me.
In December of 2013, Mark Oberholtzer of Mark-1 plumbing sent his son Jeff to AutoNation Ford Golf Freeway in Houston in order to trade in his 2005 F-250 for a 2012 F-250.
The $1 million lawsuit filed today alleges that his son began to peel away the company’s decals on the door only to be told “let them handle it,” telling him that he would ruin the paint if he continued to do it himself.
According to records, that very same truck bearing both the name of his business and a visible telephone number was sold to a company in Turkey by AutoNation Ford in 2013.
And then came the tweet that turned his life upside down
Almost a year to the day after the truck arrived in Turkey, the extremist group Ansar al-Deen Front (a group fighting under the ISIS banner) tweeted a photo of Mr. Oberholtzer’s truck mounted with an anti-aircraft and manned by the group.
Mr. Oberholtzer was hunting in South Texas when the photo went viral and he received a call from his secretary wherein she told him that reporters were calling asking how his truck got to become ISIS property.
This was followed by up to 200 nasty calls to his office each day including a number of death threats.
“They were calling us ‘terrorists’ or ‘traitors,’ [threatening], ‘We’re going to come down there and do this.’ We had numerous death threats,” the 52-year-old from Galveston County told The New York Post.
“How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know,” Oberholtzer told The Galveston Daily News.
“Yesterday I ran into a guy I used to work with, for the first time in five years. ‘Sell any trucks to Syria lately?’ he asked. Everybody thinks it’s funny, but it’s not,” he said.
As a result of his perceived relationship with ISIS, Mr. Oberholtzer has been carrying a gun after the FBI told him to protect himself.
He is seeking nearly a $1 million in damages from the dealership due to the death threats and lost business.