Used cars up for auction, but some confusion on its legality

A Carson City businessman who was cited in April for trying to sell cars without a license will have a liquidation auction today, but a Department of Motor Vehicles official contends he is not authorized to conduct a sale to the public.

Joe DiLonardo, who owned Great Western Motors and V&T Mercantile for 28 years, said his remaining used cars, antiques and collectibles will be auctioned starting at 11 a.m. today at the 5925 Highway 50 East business.

"I have reservations about it," DiLonardo said Friday about closing his businesses. "I've spent half my lifetime in this place. It has a lot of good memories. Most of our business was repeat business and I'm going to miss them. Hopefully they'll miss me."

DiLonardo said he is closing his businesses because his wife is sick and he wants to devote more time to her.

Ralph Felices, chief investigator of the DMV's compliance enforcement division, said DiLonardo is authorized to sell to other dealers, but not to the public. He said the former business owner still has problems to sort out with several agencies.

"He's under additional investigation for unlawful sales of vehicles," Felices said. "He has problems to address with the Carson City DA."

DiLonardo was cited last month by DMV compliance enforcement officers for allegedly trying to sell three cars to an undercover officer. The citation is a misdemeanor violation of Nevada laws requiring automobile dealers to be licensed by the DMV.

DMV officials said DiLonardo's license was revoked in December for violations relating to consignment vehicles and failure to pay court judgments.

His May 3 hearing to answer the charges was postponed. DiLonardo said he suspects the charges will be dropped. He then cited his record of community service.

DiLonardo said he hasn't sold a car since Dec. 17, when he lost his license. DiLonardo said he never planned on getting back into the used car business after that.

He also said the auctioneer received permission from the DMV to conduct today's sale for the public and for dealers. "They just can't issue a dealer report of sale."

The 75-year-old former Carson City Republican Party chairman said he isn't ready to retire yet. He submitted his resume to the governor's office and is also interested in working in Nevada tourism. His former business location won't be vacant for long.

"I think someone else is going to open up a car dealership here, but that's not confirmed yet," DiLonardo said.

- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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