A Venice car dealer accused of refusing to return a trailer to a leasing company has filed a counterclaim in Madison County Circuit Court.

Star Leasing Co. filed a lawsuit July 5 against Bassam Saffaf, doing business as Proud One Auto.

Proud One Auto filed a counterclaim Aug. 17.

According to Star Leasing's original complaint, it leased a trailer from Citizens Leasing with the intention of buying it later. Star Leasing allegedly paid Citizens Leasing for the trailer and is awaiting title transfer. In July 2009, Star Leasing allegedly leased the same trailer to Freight Masters Systems Inc. of Indiana. Five months later, Freight Masters allegedly filed for bankruptcy and is no longer in business.

What became of the trailer was unknown, according to Star Leasing, until June 2011, when Star Leasing heard the trailer was being held by Proud One. Proud One allegedly refused to show how it received the trailer and stopped taking calls from Star Leasing. Proud One also refused to reply to letters, according to Star Leasing.

Star Leasing is asking for the return of its $14,000 trailer and to be awarded more than $50,000 in damages.

In its counter claim, Proud One claims it contacted Star Leasing on Jan. 3, 2011 to store a trailer unit, which it did store from Jan. 3, 2011 to July 9, 2012.

Proud One claims Star Leasing took possession of the trailer from the defendant-counter plaintiff through the action on July 9, 2012. Proud One claims Star Leasing owes it for 553 days of storage or $14,000 plus the costs of the lawsuit.

Attorneys Michael Reda and Jason D. Johnson of Edwardsville represent Star Leasing.

Morgan Scroggins of Scroggins Law Office represents Proud One.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-951

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