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Towing lawsuit underscores need to tighten regulatory laws

The expanded federal lawsuit regarding the behavior of a towing company operator underscores a need for local and state officials to step up.
The towing industry in Michigan is known to be notoriously predatory, and to grossly overcharge those unlucky enough to be one of their victims.
Breakthrough Towing, a Detroit company that has rebranded its name due to intensive media coverage, first came to the attention of the metro area when it was called out for pouncing on cars that were parked in the Hamtramck CVS parking lot after business hours.
Despite there being a couple of warning signs saying folks could get towed after CVS closed for the day, it turned out the company never had a contract with CVS to do that towing.
By this time, dozens of car owners who patronized Bumbo’s Bar across the street have had to dish out upwards of $400 per vehicle to get their cars back, or else unhitched at the site.
As it turned out, while there were some signs posted, there were not enough to meet state regulations.
At the time, some of our police officers did not know the state law, and therefore allowed Breakthrough to continue towing.
Unnamed Hamtramck police officers have now been added to a class action lawsuit. The city has also been included.
Breakthrough was also allegedly allowed to operate even though it failed to renew its yearly state license. However, officers have been issuing tickets lately to tow drivers who are not licensed to work here. The lawsuit also spells out some constitutional issues as well.
Hamtramck needs to take a close look at its ordinances, as well as make sure officers are up to speed on laws regulating towing companies.
State legislators also need to tighten up regulations so that towing companies can’t get away with charging exorbitant fees to car owners.
May 3, 2019

3 Responses to Towing lawsuit underscores need to tighten regulatory laws

  1. Roadman

    May 3, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    An excerpt at Paragraph 161 of federal court Complaint:

    161. Upon information and belief, the City of Detroit Police Deepartment John Does and City of Hamtramck Police Department John Does received kickbacks, payment, and/or othe incentives from and/or through Breakthrough Towing, LLC and/or other Michael Dickerson while employed by the City of Detroit and City of Hamtramck, respectively.

    http://www.scribd.com/document/407257547/Breakthrough-Towing-Filed-Complaint

  2. Tea Party Patriot

    May 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    @Roadman:

    I read the link to the lawsuit and – Wow! – just Wow!

    This is not the first controversy involving a towing contractor with local tow operations to be in legal hot water. Boulevard & Trumbull Towing had the exclusive contract for the City of Hamtramck and its president/owner Gasper Fiore ended up going to federal prison for convictions on issues albeit unrelated to Hamtramck.

    Some quick questions for the City of Hamtown:

    Did the Hamtramck Police Department ever open up a criminal investigation into Breakthough Towing over their allegedly illegal towing operations directed at Bumbo’s customers – and if not, why not?

    Is there a Hamtramck Police Department internal investigation into the lawsuit allegations that local law enforcement officers accepted some type of benefit to assist Breakthough Towing in allegedly illicit towing practices?

    What proof, if any, do the persons suing the City of Hamtramck Police Department have that local law enforcement officers accepted some type of benefit from Breakthrough Towing or its owner to assist Breakthough Towing in its dubious towing endeavors at the CVS parking lot in question?

    Are there any other criminal investigations pending by, for example, the Wayne County Sheriff or Michigan State Police involving the Breakthrough Towing activities at the CVS parking lot location near Bumbo’s?

    Are there any other lawsuits pending involving Bumbo’s clientele?

    Whose fault is it that Hamtramck police officers “did not know the state law” as the article above suggests and allowed the allegedly predatory activities at Bumbo’s to continue as long as it did – police administration or the City Attorney perhaps?

    The article above suggests that tickets have been issued recently to “tow drivers who are not licensed to work here”; is this a city ordinance requiring tow drivers working locally to obtain a city licensure – and if so where can citizens access the registry to verify the holders of local towing licenses AND can a citizen file a grievance against such a local towing company licensee?

    Are there any proposed city ordinances being considered that would prevent future predatory towing activities similar to those that were perpetrated against Bumbo’s patrons?

    Answer these questions City of Hamtown!

  3. Fatema Hossain

    May 5, 2019 at 3:54 pm

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