Former Clark County auto dealer files for Chapter 11

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WALLA WALLA — Mark. W. Gilbert, a former Clark County automobile dealer who now operates dealerships in Eastern Washington, Oregon and Idaho, is seeking Chapter 11 protection for his lawsuit-troubled auto group.

The Gilbert Auto Group filed the action Wednesday in U.S. District Court. The filing covers dealerships Gilbert owns in College Place, Walla Walla and Moses Lake, and in Pendleton, Ore., and Moscow, Idaho.

Gilbert's business faces lawsuits filed by several carmakers, including Honda Corp., which alleges that Gilbert violated construction loan and wholesale financing agreements.

The Washington State Attorney's Office also has filed suit against Gilbert and several of his dealerships for alleged violations of the state's auto dealer and consumer protection laws.

In a written statement, Gilbert said he does not expect to close any dealerships.

Gilbert formerly had dealerships in Vancouver, where he was an organizer of the Vancouver Auto Dealers Association.