Friday, August 2, 2013

TDLR Plays Favorites and Burns Others

It's been awhile since I wrote anything about towing, doesn't mean I have lost that burning desire to understand why TDLR issues fines and reduced fine to some and not all licensees. I didn't attended the October Commissioners Meeting as I was not feeling well that morning, seems my health has dropped off considerably.

Below is an email between a towing victim, Adam Flowers TDLR Attorney and Southwest Auto Tow:

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Sue Troutte
Adam Fellows

Message flagged
Friday, October 7, 2011 10:15 AM

Mr. Fellows,

I received by way of document production a letter that you sent to Mr. Mark Hull on September 30, 2011. I have serious problems with your letter and the fact that you have apparently chosen to find a way to dismiss this complaint against Ms. Messina that is unsubstantiated by facts.

First, the letter states that I was to be sent a “cc”, yet more than one week later I have yet to have been provided a copy of this document from you or your office.

Second, the complaint clearly lists both Southwest Auto Tow as well as Southwest Auto Storage as the Respondents. Yet in your last correspondence to me dated August 16, 2011 you stated “ The above referenced case is related to storage issues. Towing companies and Vehicle Storage companies are separately licensed. [sic] Therefore the complaints against them need to be separately investigated and handled.” You have chosen to opt out of your legal responsibility to the citizens of our state and as it appears from your record, is standard operating procedure.

The second notice letter was sent in response to a telephone discussion I had with Patrick at SW Auto, and the timing of the notices was clearly accelerated as he had threatened during that conversation. This does not follow the Code.

Finally, the vehicle was sent to the Dallas County Constable by the Respondents while the illegal tow action was pending even after Patrick advised Judge Payton that “nothing would happen with the vehicle.” Your statement that law enforcement took custody of the vehicle as an excuse for the Respondents is absurd. As a licensed attorney are well aware of the procedure for bailment cases. The constable did not come on to the Respondent’s private property take the vehicle from their possession and sell it. The paperwork which I have been provided by the Respondents show that they ordered the sale.

I am not surprised by your response in light of Ms. Messina’s relationship with your department, but it does not excuse your actions.

Susan Troutte


This incident with Susan Troutte should serve as a reminder to consumers, towing companies, vehicle storage facilities with their employees, that TDLR does not always treat everyone the same when a violation has been committed. I had intended to attend the October meeting at the request of Mark Dennison, Jess Horton's partner with Park Right Solutions to clarify some comments I made at the September meeting reference many vehicles being towed from an Addison Texas shopping center under contract with Eric's Towing, who didn't give them permission to tow anything. The comment I made, somewhere around 35 vehicles were towed, when I should have just said "ALOT" of vehicles towed that came to the attention of Addison Police Department. But regardless, with Joann Messina, an employee of Mark Dennison getting privileged treatment by TDLR prosecutors for her service on an Advisory Board that benefits their company.

As I did say in the September meeting at TDLR, strong consideration by Commissioners should be undertaken in requiring executive director Bill Kuntz to take a polygraph prior to increasing his salary regarding the perjury he committed during a senate committee hearing, that gives TDLR rule-making authority to grant more Occupations Licenses to Registered Sex Offenders and Convicted Felons.

I firmly believe licensees should held responsible to violating the regulations, if VSF employees fails to provide the required information, then he/she was be fined, not the company, because since the inception of tow truck operator and VSF employee licenses, not one has been sanctioned or fined for violating the regulations.