A post-repair inspector has filed assault charges against a North Carolina body shop owner after he claims he was beaten by him while visiting the shop to gather labor rate survey data.
Billy Walkowiak, owner of Collision Safety Consultants in Belmont, N.C., claims that Rick Russell of Rick’s Body Shop in Gastonia physically assaulted him for exposing bad repairs that the shop allegedly performed.
Walkowiak says he visited the shop on Dec. 16 to ask if they would fill out a labor rate survey. He says he was told to come back the next day to talk with Russell, the owner. When Walkowiak returned, he says he was summoned to the back of the shop, where Russell was standing with his employees.
“He said, ‘You found bad repairs on three cars I did work on. You better stop taking money out of my boys’ pockets by exposing bad repairs!’” Walkowiak said.
Walkowiak then claims Russell threw him against a truck, tackled him and beat him in the back of the head until one of Russell’s employees pulled him off him.
“I called the police but they said if I pressed charges, they would arrest me for trespassing. [Russell] told the police he told me to leave,” said Walkowiak.
Walkowiak has since filed a criminal summons for assault in Gaston Count Court against Russell. Walkowiak says he is also considering a civil suit.
FOX Charlotte is reporting that Russell told them he is "innocent of everything," "it’s our business what we charge" and that "there was a shoving match but no assault."
Russell meanwhile has reportedly contacted his attorney to look into whether Walkowiak’s labor surveys amount to illegal price fixing.