Ann Arbor mechanic accused of racism, sexism, bigotry by customers, garage owner

The owner of the garage where he used to work says his offensive behavior is now tainting her business.

- Madison Callanan is still fuming from a conversation with man who calls himself Jim S. with Whitney's Auto Sales and Repair in Ann Arbor. She says it's the same mechanic, Whitney Passino, that was confronted back in February for homophobic slurs.

She says she found the auto shop online after her boyfriend got a flat tire and called the number listed.

"The first thing I asked was, you know, 'Is this so-and-so's tire shop?' And he said, 'Yeah, I don't have time for stupid questions."

Then, she says the conversation went even further south after an argument over pricing.

"I said, 'Excuse me?' He said, 'Well, now you sound upset. I'm just treating you like the dog you deserve to be treated like,'" Callanan says.

She posted a review on Yelp warning others, but then got a response comment from a man by the name of Jim S.

"He said, 'The ghetto folks need to stay in the ghetto and not come to Ann Arbor.'" Callanan says.

Jim S. also saying, "Most reviews will be left by blacks from Ypsilanti because I don't want them to call here," adding that he sticks to U of M clients. Callanan's review and the response comment have since been removed from the site, but plenty of other unfavorable reviews from other customers are still there

"It's not a way to treat people, especially people that did nothing to him," Callanan says.

After seeing Callanan's review, a black student at the University of Michigan, Shalynn Vaughn, tells FOX 2 she wanted to see if "Jim S" would treat her the same, reminding him she was recording the conversation.

Vaughan says he told her, "There's no law against refusing service to ghetto people."

You can hear more of their recorded conversation by watching FOX 2's Erika Erickson's report in the video player above.

Passino ran his shop, formerly known as Briarwood Auto Care, inside the BP gas station on State Street. According to the owner of the gas station, Danielle Bedoun, Passino was evicted last month.

"He's racist; he has a huge issue against women," Bedoun told FOX 2's Ericka Erickson, though she did not wish to be seen on camera. "He does everything in his power to manipulate the system, to harass people. He's just a sick human being."

But Bedoun says although he's now working out of a rented parking lot not far away, he still uses this address.

"I've been trying to get him taken care of for years now. I've contacted the police, the city, the state of Michigan; I've tried to get help from everybody," she says.

Bedoun says filing a lawsuit is costing her thousands of dollars on top of roughly $30,000 in damages and machinery she says he stole when she evicted him.

The worst part Bedoun and her employees say, though, is what they've seen Passino doing - ripping off customers by changing prices and doing shoddy and possibly dangerous repairs.

"He shouldn't be allowed to work on people's cars," Bedoun says.

Bedoun says Passino began calling her from a private number, harassing and threatening her. Bedoun called police again.

She and many others are hoping now he will finally be put out of business.

Producers' note: Another auto business in the area, Whitney's Collision, is not affiliated in any way with the Whitney's Auto Sales and Repair that is featured in this story.


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories