A Mauston man and the state of Wisconsin are negotiating on a settlement after he bought a previously totaled vehicle that was mistakenly given a clean title.
Rick Davis bought the 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche for $31,000 plus tax from a private buyer after seeing the clean title, which means that a vehicle had not lost more than half of its value in crash.
An appraiser hired by the state now values the vehicle at $20,000. Davis recently received an offer of $9,000 from the state to settle the issue. Last month, when News 3 first inquired on Davis's behalf, the head of the Wisconsin Bureau of Vehicle Services acknowledged the mistake and said the state would find a "way to make these folks whole."
Now, Davis remains frustrated with the latest developments.
"Their offer of $9,000 to me makes no sense, because how did they come up with that number?" Davis said. "It seems like a number they picked out of the air and said, 'Let's see if he takes this.' They didn't do the math.”
Davis said he does not want to make a profit but he simply wants the car off his Mauston property and to be paid back what he originally paid for the vehicle. He said state law required him to do something similar back in the 1990s when he ran a car dealership and the state forced him to buy back a car with a faulty gas tank from the consumer who had purchased it. He does not want to be in the business of selling salvage.
"The right thing for them to do is to take that vehicle, pay me what I paid for it, (and) re-sell it," Davis said. "You know, they might come out better that way. They might be able to sell it at one of their auctions for $28,000 or something like that."
In its offer to settle with him for $9,000, an employee with the Department of Transportation's Risk and Safety Management Group again acknowledged the state's error in leading to this situation.
"DOT did miss the branding of the original title to you stating it was salvage," wrote Ann Bailey. "This has been corrected and you have received a new title with the correct information on it.”
Davis’ most recent appeal has been forwarded to the Department of Administration's Bureau of Risk Management.