By Charles Sercombe
Just as the legally questionable practice of one tow service company has been resolved, another one popped up.
Jay Searcy, a pastor with Grace Baptist Church on Caniff in Hamtramck, emailed The Review about his encounter with a tow service company two weeks ago.
Searcy and church members were at Veterans Memorial Park cleaning it up when they saw tow trucks hook up two of their cars in a lot next-door to the park.
The parking spaces, located behind Yemen Café off of Goodson, were marked with signs stating that only those who are “authorized” can park there.
“Our group that comes to the park regularly to serve the community has a good relationship with Yemen Cafe, so I thought, no big deal,” Searcy said.
Little did he know that the parking lot, which is also connected to a city parking lot with no boundary designation, was privately owned.
Searcy added: “We set up volleyball nets and games for the community twice a week all summer, and we clean the park when we are done. We’ve been doing it for four years. Never a problem.”
A company called 2936 Goodson LLC is the owner of the lot, and it is connected with the same owner of the nearby lofts at 8820 Jos. Campau.
How the company purchased the lot is sketchy. According to various Wayne County, city, and a special real estate database, the lot appears to have been purchased through the county and then about a year ago from the city.
Or, it may have been purchased solely through a county auction.
It is unclear who authorized the sale from the city – if it indeed was sold by the city.
At the time the city was still under the financial supervision of a state-appointed financial advisory board that had final say over all expenses and sales of public property.
Searcy said it cost his group $400 in cash to Shatilla Towing to get two cars back. He said there were five tow trucks from the company waiting to hitch up cars on what was also a home game day for the Detroit City Football Club, which was playing just down the block at Keyworth Stadium.
Searcy said that was no coincidence.
“This is a scam. They waited until a DCFC game night, which we were not attending,” Searcy said.
“We were there to help the community,” he added.
Acting City Manager Kathy Angerer said she is on top of the situation and has talked with the property management company that oversees the loft apartments and parking lot.
She said she got a commitment from the management company owner that no future towing will happen unless the company, Blackbird Asset Management, out of Grosse Pointe Farms, requests one.