Auto dealer Denny Hecker sues lending company

Denny Hecker, the prominent Twin Cities auto dealer, is suing his longtime lender alleging the company has wrongly cut him off and hurt his business.

Hecker says Chrysler Financial suspended lines of credit, even though he wasn't in default. Hecker says the move has frustrated his day-to-day operations, and left his companies unable to finance the purchase of new vehicles from several manufacturers.

Hecker also contends the the move may prevent him from selling his rental car business, Advantage Rent-a-Car, which is a step Chrysler Financial has insisted he take.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis. It comes after negotiations failed between Hecker and attorneys for Chrysler Financial, which has financed Hecker's operations for almost 20 years.

Hecker traces the change in the relationship to March 2008, when Cerberus Capital Management bought a controlling stake in Chrysler. The lawsuit points out the private equity firm is named after the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades.

The lawsuit says "this ownership and management change by the guardian of hell dramatically altered the relationship between Hecker and Chrysler."

Hecker owns or operates 18 car dealerships in Minnesota and three in California.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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