I am a long time used vehicle dealer and wholesaler from Great Falls.
On Sunday my wife, guests, and I visited Conrad where I regularly purchase vehicles from local dealers and individuals. I had just purchased a car with no physical or mechanical defects.
I correctly attached front and rear dealer plates on the car. All head, tail, signal, brake and reverse lights functioned properly. The windshield had no cracks and the windows were not excessively tinted.
All the seatbelts were connected properly and were in use by my passengers and myself. I was guilty of no moving violations, nor was I charged with any. None of us had a cell stuck in our ear. I wasn’t speeding; I didn’t drive left of center; I didn’t fail to use my turn signals; I didn’t obstruct traffic; I wasn’t driving carelessly, recklessly or erratically.
None of us had an open or closed container in our hands, nor were there any in the car (none of us consume alcoholic beverages).
Additionally, we are senior citizens with excellent driving records. We were stopped and detained by Conrad police officer Jason Korst who said he stopped me because of my dealer plates (profiling) and then admitted he incorrectly entered my plate number into his data-base which showed my plates as non-existent due to his mistake.
My driver’s license and my passengers’ licenses are current and unobstructed; my driver’s license was offered to officer Korst along with proof of current garage liability insurance and the correct, current DMV registration that accompanies my dealer plates.
Officer Korst said I was in violation because I didn’t have a Monroney statement in the car, a vehicle I had just purchased, a vehicle that has never been offered for sale on my used lot, K’s Auto Sales, 910 Sixth St. S., Great Falls, nor had it been admitted into my inventory.
I told officer Korst that I am familiar with Montana’s interpretation of the Federal Monroney law and Montana Used Vehicle dealer laws, concerning dealer plate usage.
I wasn’t cited for what officer Korst said was my violation and I understand his position as law enforcement.
What I don’t understand was statements he made during my conversation with him.
I reminded him I was originally from the Conrad area, frequently purchase vehicles here, almost always eat in Conrad restaurants, frequently feeding my drivers as well as family members or friends living in Conrad, and that my wife and daughter love shopping in Conrad’s premier clothing store.
Officer Korst said he’s seen me in Conrad and knew me from previous meetings but wouldn’t buy anything from “the crooks in Conrad” and neither, would he eat in Conrad restaurants because “they spit in your food.”
My wife and passengers also heard him say these things and were shocked. With the representation given by Conrad law enforcement, I’m glad I don’t own a Conrad restaurant or business of any type.
I’m a businessman and do things that are good for my business. I won’t be bringing my family and friends to Conrad in the future and will explain my position to Conrad’s restaurant managers, automobile dealers and the newspaper unless this situation is corrected.
Even though I don’t believe Officer Korst’s statement about Conrad restaurant employees spitting in their customer’s food, my guests were appalled and subsequently refused to eat in Conrad, so we drove to Great Falls were we enjoyed a great meal at a place that welcomes us.
Editor's note: This letter to the editor was submitted to the I-O by Greg Nickol.