Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The SXSW Towing Scandal Deepens

SXSW - Whataburger Towing Scandal

I would say that for the most part, that Donald and Catherine Creamer, owners of Central Towing Inc of Austin, committed larceny on a grand style.
I have known these two individuals since the late 80's and for them either them to say they were unaware the Whataburger parking lot located at 601 Barton Springs Road was not in compliance with State Law, is to far fetched. The reason I believe this, is why did they switch the red and white towing signs that were not in compliance with signs that were in compliance, only after I exposed their criminal activity on this blog.

But, this company has a history of deceiving consumers, not to mention taxing entities.

This incident could be the final straw for Central Towing Inc because they are no different than Lone Star Auto Services of Dallas that TDLR fined $411,000.

The Texas Attorney General wants any victim of illegal towing, such as this incident, to file a complaint with their agency, so they can shutdown companies like Central Towing Inc. The Creamers already have a history with the Attorney General surrounding their shady business practices in the past.

We cannot allow any member company of the Austin Towing Association to commit numerous felony offenses against our citizens and do nothing, as happened in the past.

Whataburger Restaurants LP has exposed their corporation to Deceptive Trade Practice Litigation that could be costly due to the large number of victims, over the past two years. This in my opinion would an excellent class action for an attorney looking to make some money.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SXSW Towing Scam in Austin, Texas

Last week was successful, as seven victims of criminal illegal towing, who's "probable cause or statutory violations' cases were heard before a Judge, all were victorious in their crusade to fight for their rights. In one case, which I call a "stunning defeat", Mark Hull, General Counsel for Assured Towing Inc, Austin Towing Association and the Southwest Tow Operators learned firsthand, that no towing company is above the rules and regulations of the Texas Towing Act, after being found GUILTY by Travis County Judge Charles Webb.

Over the past four days in Austin, Texas, the famed South by Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival took place, which more than 100,000 people attended. Of course, with a four day event, the towing of vehicles parked in parking lot in compliance with State Law happened. But, a returning towing scam, same towing scam that has occurred during three previous SXSW events, featured Central Towing Inc and Whataburger, knowingly violating the Occupation Code 2308.301(b)(5), that caused undue financial grief for more than 100 unsuspecting consumers.

You would think that Whataburger would have high ethical standards to obey State Law, but with this continued towing scam to be allowed to happen 3 years in row, is just bad business ethics. Then the question comes to how Whataburger chose a corrupt towing company like Central Towing Inc, this company has changed its business name at least three times.

On Saturday night, I observed Donald Creamer, President, Central Towing Inc stash two impounds towed from the Whataburger at Barton Springs and South First to a "parking lot" (not a licensed vehicle storage facility) at the intersection of Elizabeth and South First Street. Shortly after stashing the first vehicle, (Black VW Beetle), a tow truck bearing the name Batts Wrecker Service arrives, by this time Creamer is pulling into the parking lot with another stashed impound (White Ford Escape SUV). Batts then begins to load up the Escape, while Creamer heads back to Whataburger to steal another vehicle, (White Mini Cooper), then returns to the stash location. Once Creamer notices that I have watching his criminal activity, he speeds away with the Mini Cooper.

You would think an Austin Towing Association member like Central Towing Inc would obey State Law, but when its association general counsel is nailed with a guilty verdict for criminal illegal towing, it can't be expect that Central would obey the law.

What's sad about the whole issue is that people came to Austin to enjoy the free music, only to become crime victims at the hand of Donald Creamer with Central Towing Inc and Whataburger Restaurants LP.

We can only hope that the Austin Police Department, Office of Attorney General Greg Abbott Consumer Protection Division and the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations will shut this company down for good. Donald and Cathy Creamer are nothing more than petty thieves, who like other unscrupulous towing operators give the Towing Industry a bad reputation.

Central Towing Inc, Assured Towing Inc, Milstead Towing and Lone Star Auto Services all have one thing in common; they all inflict untimely financial harm against struggling consumers and businesses in violation of State Laws, for their own financial greed.

Anyone towed from a private parking lot is encouraged to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations.

By filing a complaint against the towing company and vehicle storage facility with the above link, you can rest assured an investigation will be conducted that may result in a $411,000 fine against the towing company.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wheels of Justice Turning Slowly In Favor of Illegal Towing Victims

Today, Travis County Judge Charles Webb ruled that Assured Towing Inc is liable to another victim of criminal illegal towing and ordered them to pay $300.00.

Assured Towing Inc was represented by Jorge Herrera, so their financial loss is greater than the $300, in legal fees. Mark Hall, Vice President and General Counsel for Assured Towing Inc testified also on behalf of this company.

Just last week, another victim of criminal illegal towing in the Houston area won their case against a parking facility owner for the statutory violations of the Occupation Code 2308. I am seeing more victims of criminal illegal towing win their cases outright, basically because they appeared in Court "prepared". Being prepared, by understanding the Texas Towing Law, taking the correct photographs and having someone to discuss the reason for the tow with, is of vital importance, to win in Court.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation fined Lone Star Auto Services of Dallas $411,000 for their criminal conduct involving the many victims that were scammed during the UT-OU Football Game. This should send a wakeup call to other towing companies that operate in the manner of Lone Star that your days of ripping off the consumers are numbered.

I was told this morning after speaking with the San Antonio Police Department, their City Attorney's Office has told the Police Department not to bother Assured Towing Inc San Antonio, something of which they are not amused with.

This matter goes back to the dark cloud over the towing zone Assured was given, at the bequest of the Mayor of San Antonio. There is more to this issue than we know about and the citizens of San Antonio encourage United States Attorney John Sutton's office to investigate. Assured Towing Inc is causing major problems according to San Antonio Police Department, mainly for refusing to follow the rules.

In the long run, I believe these towing companies and wrecker drivers, which routinely violate State Law, will find another occupation or be sentenced to long BOP sentences.

Monday, March 9, 2009

TDLR Licensed Wrecker Drivers Continue to Violate State Law

I am not surprised to see that certain wrecker drivers, who were tested and issued an wrecker operator license by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations, are knowingly towing vehicles from private parking facilities or public roadways, in violation of State Law. The issue of illegal towing is rampant across our state, at a time with people losing their jobs, having to make a difficult choice, rather to pay an untimely fee, or put food on the table for their family.

To add salt to the wound of the many victims of illegal towing, is that a growing number of law enforcement agencies, have taken the stance, they are not willing to allow a crime victim to file an offense report against a towing company, wrecker driver, vehicle storage facility employee or parking facility, when a clear violation of State Law has occurred. In the most recent incident, a towing company (wrecker drivers) committed more than a hundred felony offenses while the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction looks the other way, i.e. business as usual. It's these events that give the towing industry a black eye.

In an illegal towing incident in Wills Point, Texas, a towing company, Fuller's Towing and Recovery Service, towed a vehicle from the parking lot of Lone Star Grill that the Grill manager called wanted removed. The wrecker driver, who arrived at this parking lot, should have recognized there were none of the required red and white towing signs (Occupation Code 2308.301) that would have allowed the towing of a vehicle parked in a marked parking space without the owner or operator's consent. But, as in the majority of nonconsent tows, the wrecker driver, sacrificed their integrity for the sake of financial gain, instead of telling the person who called, their parking lot was not in compliance with State Law.

The motoring public is under attack by these types of wrecker drivers, licensed or unlicensed, who refuse to obey the very State Law they were trained and tested for to be allowed to operate (drive) a tow truck in the State of Texas.

It's not like these towing company owners don't know what is happening, a large number of towing companies who tow from private parking lots (PPI, Impounds, Tow Aways) without the vehicle owner or operator's consent, have a criminal background, that are skilled in how to train their drivers, sales people and spotters how to deceive the public. Because of this cut throat business climate, towing companies who comply with State Law are losing clients because of financial benefits their competitors are giving to property managers and parking facility owners, while law enforcement ignores the facts.

We can only hope the Texas Legislature gives some relief to the many victims of illegal towing, in addition to increased funding to TDLR to hire additional investigators.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Consumers Under Attack by Criminal Enterprises & Corupt Law Enforcement Agencies

Consumers, being the vehicle owner or operator, are being burned by select towing companies, wrecker drivers, vehicle storage facilities and parking facilities across the state at an alarming rate.

Everyday, I hear from someone who's vehicle was taken from a parking facility, which was not in compliance with the Texas Towing Law, and forced to pay huge sums of money to get their vehicle back. To make matters worse, the chances of getting their money back, even a court ordered judgment, the towing companies and vehicle storage facilities refuse to pay the money back.

With people losing their jobs, being victimized by towing companies, law enforcement agencies refusing to arrest those committing criminal offenses that resulted in the illegal tow in the first place, are contributing to the consumer's confidence in Justice.

Victims of towing companies and parking facilities cannot give up, because if you do, the criminal enterprises win.

The public if victimized by towing company or vehicle storage facility should file a complaint against them.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Corruption Continues in Private Property Towing

Some towing company owners, like DICK Milstead, still operate with the mindset of how things were done 25 years ago, continues today, even being criminal. Many people still can't understand why the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department allows DICK Milstead's company, Milstead Automotive Ltd to commit felony offenses against owners or operators of tractor trailer rigs they impound, store and release at their storage facility.

To knowingly produce a fraudulent towing receipt when a tow truck was not attached to the trailer and charge a towing fee, is tampering with a governmental record, not to mention felony theft.

Based on comments in a conversation with the TDLR Investigator who spoke with DICK Milstead, the investigator will submit is findings to Austin that will indicate a Milstead practice, which many in the towing industry and law enforcement circles find the be illegal.

DICK's daughter should save whatever reputation she has, because both law enforcement members on the same Advisory Board believe Amy Milstead Ellzey is a conflict of interest.

Considering Judge Edie Connelly caught DICK Milstead lying during the probable cause hearing recently, it's wonder this man keep his facts straight with the TDLR investigator.

The issue with Action Towing in Killeen ripping off wounded soldiers returning from Iraq at their apartment complex has gotten the full attention of the Texas Attorney General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas State Comptroller, TDLR and the Bell County District Attorney. Unfortunately, this towing company in Killeen is no different than DICK's company, two companies bent on inflicting financial pain behind criminal illegal towing.

These incidents are just a tip of the iceberg, as we have many unscrupulous towing companies and wrecker drivers, who all prey on the motoring public.