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Auto Exec ‘no Longer with Company’ After Allegations of Anti-semitism

The eastern regional manager of Hyundai Motor America, accused in separate lawsuits of making anti-Semitic remarks and discriminating against a Jewish auto dealer, “is no longer with the company,” according to a spokesman for the Korean-based auto maker.

The spokesman declined further comment about Edward Gormley, who headed the regional office in Cranbury, N.J., because of the pending litigation.

In a federal suit filed in U.S. District Court in Queens, N.Y., Tom Nemet, who operates an import car dealership in Jamaica, N.Y., charged that he was denied a Hyundai franchise because he was Jewish.

The charges were based on a deposition by Susan Tetley, a Hyundai employee whose own lawsuit, filed in New Jersey State Superior Court, alleges Gormley made anti-Semitic comments and tried to limit the number of Jews receiving Hyundai dealerships.

Hyundai denied the charges, saying that 20 percent of its eastern region dealers are Jewish, and said Nemet was denied his request for a dealership because of “sound business principles.”

A spokesman for the company acknowledged, however, that Gormley had received a letter of reprimand in September 1987 for anti-Semitic remarks directed toward Tetley.

Gormley has also denied the charges, telling the Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger, “This whole thing is a farce.”

Letters written in support of Gormley have appeared in the Automotive News, an industry publication. According to one Jewish dealer, Paul Singer of Paragon Hyundai in Long Island City, N.Y., “Religion has never entered in any issue. Gormley has always been a fair person and a man of his word.”

In a telephone interview, Singer said he and a number of other Jewish dealers will take out an advertisement in the Automotive News “expressing our dissatisfaction with these allegations against the company.”

According to Tetley’s deposition, however, Singer had written the company in late 1985, objecting that a dealership awarded to Nemet would be too close to his own.

Singer denied he wrote such a letter. “My philosophy is not to tell factories where to put dealerships,” he said.

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