Remember Max Weinberg? For a long time, he was the bandleader for Late Night With Conan O’Brien, but his true claim to fame is being the drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. He’s also an automotive afficionado, having an interest in a particular 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL. However, this vehicle has led to a lawsuit.
According to the Associated Press, Weinberg paid a deposit of $125,000 to Investment Automotive Group, Inc. as a downpayment for the Mercedes that it was restoring. A balance of $100,000 would be paid upon the completion of the restoration, which was promised to be “like-new or better condition using almost entirely original parts,” a “work of art” and the “best of the best.”
However, citing a gut feeling, Weinberg hired expert Pierre Hedary to inspect the vehicle at the restorers’ shop. Hedary found “significant rust, welds that had been improperly made, evidence that the car had been in an accident, and several other major problems.” To add insult to injury, it seems the Mercedes was a 1956 and not a ’57. Hedary concluded that, when finished, the SL would be a very nice roadster but would not qualify at major concours events, suggesting that it would be worth $120,000 at best.
When the owners of the shop refused to refund Weinberg’s deposit, he filed a complaint with the Broward (Florida) Sheriff’s Office. An investigation from a detective says that the restorers took the deposit and put it in personal accounts, covering almost $50,000 in credit card debt and other personal payments. “I did not find any transactions that could have been attributed to the work being done on (Weinberg’s) vehicle,” wrote the detective, adding that he found no indication the money went towards parts.
As such, the detective recommends the restorers be charged with grand theft, though the Broward State Attorney’s Office has said the case remains under review.