Last August, Ferrari salesman Robert “Bud” Root filed a lawsuit against a former client, Steven McMillan, after Root claimed McMillan made comments which caused him to lose his job at Ferrari of Palm Beach in Florida. Root has since returned to his position, but not before alleging that McMillan had requested Ferrari to roll back the mileage showing on his LaFerrari’s odometer to zero, thereby increasing the car’s value and committing fraud. Furthermore, Root’s suit alleges this is a common practice among Ferrari’s more well-respected and well-connected clients and their new, digital odometer equipped cars.
From the suit: “It was eventually uncovered that the conduct … which resulted in [Root’s] firing and the public disgracing of [Root] was a false statement from [McMillan] that Plaintiff had been a knowing and intentional participant in an illegal scheme to alter an odometer in violation of state and federal law … ”
The suit further alleges, “In or about the summer of 2015, [Root] learned from another Ferrari Palm Beach employee that the manufacturer of Ferrari cars has a device which enables a Ferrari factory-trained mechanic to reset the odometer on certain Ferraris to zero. The existence of the device is almost completely unknown among the worldwide community of Ferrari “super-car” owners. The two-fold reason for this is clear. … A secret reset of an odometer by even a few hundred miles can enhance the value of a Ferrari by a seven-figure amount. Were it to become common knowledge that a device exists which can alter Ferrari odometers without detection, the huge Ferrari re-sale market would be thrown into turmoil, as true value of pre-owned Ferraris on which the reset device operates, would be called into question.”
Rolling back a vehicle’s odometer is a violation of state and federal laws. Root alleges that after informing McMillan of the supposed odometer “defeat device” so that McMillan would be cautious of used, low-mileage cars, McMillan instead used the information to make an “off-books cash payment to one of Ferrari of Palm Beach’s mechanics to use the reset device to reset the odometer on [McMillan’s] 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari to zero.”
The reference to this supposed “off-books cash payment” directed to an individual mechanic and not to Ferrari corporate would appear to not tie Ferrari to the scheme, even though the lawsuit alleges that only Ferrari-trained technicians know about the “defeat device” — implying that Ferrari shows them how to roll back odometers.
When reached for comment, a Ferrari representative stated, “We do not comment on litigation between a dealer and its employees. This litigation involves third parties with respect to Ferrari North America and the litigation does not involve Ferrari. Ferrari reserves the right to take all appropriate action against any party that has adversely affected its rights.”
You can read the full lawsuit below.