Dealership Defaults on City

The closure of the Lawrence Marshall dealership in Hempstead has left the City of Houston in a bit of a lurch. The dealership provided many of the city’s vehicles and parts.

As Laurie Johnson reports — city officials may have to sue to recover losses from the dealership’s bankruptcy.

An interesting item showed up on the city council agenda. It was an ordinance appropriating more than $93,000 to a company that no longer exists.

The contract with Lawrence Marshall Chrysler was supposed to cover a new ambulance for the Houston Fire Department.

This raised some confusion at the council meeting.

“Chair recognizes Councilmember Green” “Mayor I also need some clarification. Are we — how can we appropriate the funds without a vendor?”

After some discussion with the city’s legal department, council concluded they could still authorize the expenditure but award it to a different contractor.

Houston Mayor Bill White says the city may end up in litigation over Lawrence Marshall’s bankruptcy filing.

“Whether it be an auto dealer or whether it be this one construction company that went belly-up that left us with a problem and the county with a whole lot more — we would pursue that through the bankruptcy court.”

Lawrence Marshall was a city vendor for everything from ambulances to recycled parts and upholstery services. In an inner-office city memo, officials say they found out about the dealership’s closure through media reports.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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