In a quarter-page advertisement entitled 'An Open Letter to St. Vincent de Paul San Mateo County,' Norman Wycke (owner of Hometown Motors) charged the organization with breach of contract, assault, intimidation and slander. The verbal attack was launched days after settlement negotiation got underway between Wycke and the organization.

According to St. Vincent de Paul's attorney Robert Bowland, Wycke and the organization have been entangled in litigation for more than a year.

Wycke says that St. Vincent de Paul breached a contractual obligation with him by refusing to pay him. St. Vincent de Paul claims that Wycke breached the contract by not giving them access to records. What is clear however is that the two parties entered into a verbal agreement in which they would split the profits earned from car donations.

The details of the agreement are as follows: Wycke would lease out part of his lot at Hometown Motors to the agency. The lot would be used as a depot for the dropping off of automobiles. Wycke was responsible for repairing then reselling the cars. The parties were suppose to split the profits of all sales.

Prior to entering into this agreement with Wycke, St. Vincent de Paul had a policy of only accepting working cars for donation. After making the agreement with Wycke, St. Vincent de Paul started accepting the donation of cars that did not work.

According to Bowland the contract was terminated because the organization thought there were some improprieties taking place and Wycke would not give the organization any information to assure them there were not.

"He didn't give the [St. Vincent de Paul] society any information whatsoever of what was going on," Bowland said.

According to Wycke, a self-proclaimed whistle-blower, St. Vincent de Paul backed out of its contract with him after he started making allegations against a former employee of the organization. Wycke accused Benjamin Vasade of assault, sexual impropriety and intimidation.

"He physically grabbed me. He threatened me. And he told me he would ruin me." Wycke said. Wycke added that Vasade has assaulted other individuals at Hometown Motors.

"I know for certain several cars came up missing on the lot. They were given to women he had sex with. And other women have told me he forced them to have sex with him to keep their jobs. What you have here is a good organization that is being wrecked by a very bad man," Wycke said.

Wycke said that before he started complaining about Vasade the Society was very satisfied with the arrangement. He stated that they thought it was going so well that they wanted to extend the original contract from six-months to three-years.

Vasade, who has since stopped working for the Society, could not be reached for comment. Bowland would not comment on the specifics of the suit pending against Wycke. He did say, however, that the society and Vasade parted ways amicably and that the society found there to be no merit to Wycke's allegations.

The recent verbal attack launched at the society in print opens up another possible can of worms. The wording in the original advertisement names Vasade outright, and if there is no merit to the allegations, could open Wycke or the publication that printed it up to a new slander suit.

"The content of the ad is not surprising coming from Mr. Wycke," Bowland said. "It's turned into some type of personal vendetta for Mr. Wycke."

Bowland would not say whether the Society plans to file a slander suit against Wycke. "I'm disappointed that someone has to resort to this sort of action. The Society has a greater mission than going out and suing people."

The two parties will meet again in court on December 11th.


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