Cadillac found at center of dispute with Detroit councilman

Cadillac found at center of dispute with Detroit councilman

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DETROIT (WJBK) - It's a pretty serious allegation against Detroit City Councilman George Cushingberry. He's accused of essentially stealing classic cars from a local woman.

While the victim is still looking for her day in court, Fox 2's M.L. Elrick has been looking for the cars.

Well, he found one.

Kenneth Smith thought he was getting a deal when he bought a 1976 Coupe de Ville at an auto action. But now he says he's the collateral damage from one of Councilman Cushingberry's many legal woes.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report from Fox 2's M.L. Elrick, or read the transcript below
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ELRICK: For the '76 de Ville, you've got to look chill.

The 1976 Cadillac Coupe de Ville is a majestic ride.

ELRICK TO SMITH: What does this have in it?
SMITH: Five hundred.
ELRICK: Five hundred cubic inches?
SMITH: YES, SIR.
ELRICK: Holy smokes!

This massive hunk of Detroit iron looks pretty good for being tangled up in a legal mess.

When Kenneth Smith bought it, all it needed was a little T-L-C, and some rims.

SMITH: I did some touch-up painting on it, ordered custom rims for it, custom paint to paint the rims, new fan belt, new suspension all the way around.

Smith is a pretty good looking, too, But he doesn't want us to show his grill. Smith says he doesn't want to get any deeper in George Cushingberry's legal quagmire.

SMITH: It's a pain, man. I bought the car a couple years back from Martin's Towing and just been having a problem ever since.

Roxanne Hudson says she hired Cushingberry in 2011. She says he took her late husband's Caddy and a 1926 Oakland like this one to settle Larry Hudson's debts and pay for his funeral. But Roxanne Hudson alleges in a lawsuit that Cushingberry took the cars and left her with the bills.

Kenneth Smith found the Caddy at an auto auction.

ELRICK TO SMITH: What did you think when you saw this one?
SMITH: I thought it was a beauty at the time.

ELRICK TO SMITH: So did you know at that time that a city councilman was caught up in this whole thing?
SMITH: No, I didn't even know that until actually I seen [sic] your story on the news talking about it and I remembered that the name on the title I had was the exact same lady's name who you was spoke [sic] with.

Smith says the tug of war over the car has made it impossible to get a clear title.

ELRICK TO SMITH: And where can you drive it now?
SMITH: [Scoffs] Nowhere. To the grocery store and back, probably.


ELRICK TO SMITH: You ever think about going down to City Hall and saying, 'Hey, George, what's up?'
SMITH: No, I don't want to go down there because I'm too upset. I don't know how I might react to what he say [sic].

Councilman Cushingberry has never returned my calls but I thought he might make an exception this time to help out Smith.

ELRICK ON THE PHONE: Hi, this is M.L. Elrick with Fox 2. I'm trying to reach Mr. Cushingberry. I want to talk to him about that Cadillac that he's accused of taking improperly from a widow. I found it, and wanted to see if we can try and straighten this thing out.

Smith doesn't blame Roxanne Hudson.

SMITH: She probably felt worse than I feel, for real. She probably feel [sic] worse than me. I know she did, losing her husband's cars.

ELRICK TO SMITH: So who do you think needs to make all this right?
SMITH: I guess George Cushingberry. He's the one who started it, I guess. So I'm figuring he should be the one resolving it.

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