The Mayor of Baltimore and Baltimore City Council has the power and duty to move these Federal, state, and local funds as required by law-----yet we are watching as Maryland Congressional pols shout---WE ARE SENDING FUNDS FOR GREEN BUILDING,JOBS, DEVELOPMENT----and then they are the driving force to making sure only corporations get the subsidy and their Baltimore constituents are made subcontractors to subcontractors.
WAKE UP FOLKS----THIS IS CUMMINGS, SARBANES, CARDIN, VAN HOLLEN, AND DONNA EDWARDS-----AND WAS MIKULSKI.
These political machines are behind all of the Republican BLOCK GRANTING that creates the systemic fraud and corruption as well.
I shouted earlier about the status of quasi-governmental as in BAltimore Development as the tool used by Johns Hopkins to create all this crime and corruption. Let's look at their other tool-----Maryland Stadium Authority. Below you see a comment from a community activist who sees the crony and fraud in yet another quasi-governmental agency and it is being allowed to act OUTSIDE ITS PURVIEW-----ILLEGALLY WITH FRAUD ON ITS AGENDA.
The Maryland Assembly now uses this Authority to control state funding and directs it to global corporations doing work in Baltimore and now, it is all things public university and K-12 all tied to a collapsing bond market.
A REAL MAYOR WOULD LONG AGO HAVE CHALLENGED ALL OF THIS.
From a friend:
'We are sleeping on the Maryland Stadium Authority. They will be company to handle the money and projects of the demolition and the developments that will soon come ( another Johns Hopkins). In other words this company, that has absolutely nothing to do with the communities that are affected by the blight, will be the ones making the decisions. Now hold on to your wigs, this same company has the school construction contracts. I'm not finished, PFM a company from PA, that gave the proposal to the school board about the horrible condition of the schools is the Public Financial Management Company for Maryland Stadium Authority. That Billion dollar school legislation doesn't look so good after all, since the people that supported it are the ones with schools closing in their community.Don't support any legislation, unless you read it and understand it. Every City Council member and Baltimore City State Legislator supported this bill and told you it was a good one to support; ask Cherry Hill, Langston Hughes, Northwestern High School, Westside Elementary,Sharp Leadenhall and 21 other schools, was this a good idea and should Maryland Stadium Authority control another project in our Black community.
Maryland Stadium AuthorityWebsiteDirections
Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
The Maryland Stadium Authority, MSA, was created by Chapter 283, Acts of 1986 Maryland General Assembly. Its initial mission was to return the National Football League to Baltimore. Wikipedia
Address: 555 Russell St # A, Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 576-0300
When we look at reversing Baltimore's operational structure to end fraud and corruption-----we knew when this '21st century school building program' was passed IT WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL AS THESE PEOPLE ALL KNEW THE BOND MARKET WAS CRASHING.
The City of Baltimore does not have to allow these illegal actions----City Hall would have shouted----the Maryland Assembly owes Baltimore $700 million from a Maryland Supreme Court ruling--SEND THAT CASH TO BOLSTER THIS SCHOOL BUILDING. The priority for the next mayor----hopefully Cindy Walsh---is to VOID all these school building agreements as illegal. The way they are written----Baltimore citizens will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Wall Street in fees for absolutely no reason and all property taxes in Baltimore are tied to these bonds.
THESE SCHOOL BUILDING DEALS MUST BE STOPPED AS ILLEGAL.
21st Century School Buildings Program
Visit the Program Website for more 21st Century School Buildings Plan information
MSA Executive Director Michael J. Frenz addresses media at City Hall with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Superintendent of Schools Andres Alonso, and members of the City Council, General Assembly and Board of School Commissioners in April 2013.
The Baltimore City Public Schools Construction and Revitalization Act of 2013 passed in the final days of the legislative session. It authorizes the City of Baltimore, Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, Interagency Committee on School Construction, and MSA to collaborate on the Plan.
The Act authorizes MSA to leverage $60 million dollars into bond money to support an estimated 23-28 school renovation and replacement projects. Construction is expected to begin in late 2015/early 2016, and the program is on schedule to be completed by summer 2020.
The Memorandum of Understanding, approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works October 16, 2013, outlines each party's roles and responsibilities in the multi-faceted project.
From my post yesterday I identified billions of dollars from these several years in what could have been revenue coming to ALL COMMUNITIES that were moved to corporate profit. This shows how a budget of $3 billion in Baltimore could easily become $5 billion with a city coffer well in the black. Instead------Baltimore City Hall has the city teetering on bankruptcy.
If you think public sector pensions are a taxpayer grab----you are not thinking of what it takes to fuel a local economy. I showed yesterday how Baltimore City and Maryland pensions were served up for fraud by Governor O'Malley and Mayor Rawlings-Blake as they have these few decades of no oversight and accountability to shout----THESE PENSIONS ARE IN BAD INVESTMENTS. Those billions lost to Wall Street would have paid all the pensions----and we would have citizens with enough disposable income to consume products and services from our small business economy.
PLEASE STOP LISTENING TO REPUBLICANS PRETENDING STRONG WAGES AND BENEFITS HURT JOBS AND TAKE FROM TAXPAYERS---WE HAVE BILLIONS STOLEN EACH YEAR IN MARYLAND BY CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH.
A Mayor of Baltimore would fight for that lost pension fraud for our citizens and our economy -----
Below you see how everyone knows the fraud committed---in this case it identifies the government officials----in Baltimore that would be our Mayor O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake and the Comptroller's office tied to pension investment----and at the state level that is Erhlich/O'Malley as governors and the State Treasurer Kopp. Now, we know all these pensions were tied to the Wall Street bank subprime frauds losing 1/2 their value----and that needs to come back WITH DAMAGES. We know they are again tied to this coming bond market crash in which the plan has the entire pension fund gutted with fraud.
SUCH A LOSS WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO OUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR ECONOMY AND MUST BE PROTECTED. THIS IS HOW WALL STREET AND GLOBAL POLS INTEND TO BRING AMERICANS DOWN TO THIRD WORLD POVERTY NEXT DECADE---THEY ARE TAKING ALL OUR WEALTH AND PUBLIC ASSETS.
Public-Employee Pension Fraud
Friday October 10th, 2014 • Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:11am PST • 2 Comments
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It is taking an increasing amount of “creative” accounting--or, really, outright fraud--to make a number of troubled public-employee pension funds look solvent when they are nowhere close to having the money needed to pay retiring government employees for the extremely generous pensions they’ve been promised. And when the fraud is found out, taxpayers are being increasingly stuck with the bill.
The latest example of fraud committed by politicians and government bureaucrats comes from the state of Illinois, where it would seem that government at all levels cannot exist without it! Jean Lotus of the Forest Park Review shows how one municipality’s accounting shell game came crashing down with a large tax hike being imposed its wake:
Forest Park’s police and fire pension systems took a hit this year because a simple actuarial change recalculated how long safety personnel can be expected to live. Actuary Timothy W. Sharpe, of west suburban Geneva, changed one element of his calculations last year, revealing a $104,000 shortfall in the police pension fund and a $94,000 shortfall in the fire pension fund.
That money was added to the village’s tax appropriation levy in July, boosting property taxes in town by about $200,000.
The change came when Sharpe switched last year from a 1971 mortality table to a new table that more accurately reflected the lifespans of police officers and firefighters living in 2000.
For more than a decade, Sharpe had been using a group annuity mortality table called the GAM-1971. As its name implies the table was created in 1971 using mortality data from police officers and firefighters collected between 1964 and 1968. Life expectancies on the tables tracked public safety workers who, at age 50, would have been born between 1914 and 1918.
The difference, of course, is that the lifespans of retirement age Americans has increased quite a bit since the 1960s.
The accounting fraud in this case enabled Forest Park’s politicians to claim that their pension fund was being adequately funded to meet its projected liabilities, when in reality, it was far short. That deception then allowed the politicians to spend the tax revenue for other priorities, as the public-employee pension fund was being drawn down over time.
When the fraud was ended, the government was faced with a choice: either hike taxes on residents to make up the shortfall and continue paying public-employees their generous pensions in full, or reduce the pensions to match the returns from the funding that had actually been set aside. As happens all too often in these cases, the politicians sided with the interests of government employees against the public.
And thus, no politicians or bureaucrats were harmed in the production of this long running episode of public malfeasance.
Raise your hands if you know Baltimore City Parking Authority is soaked in fraud and corruption just as is described below------but unlike what this article suggests -----taxpayers are NOT STUCK WITH THE TAB.
All deals Wall Street makes with government falls under FALSE
CLAIMS ACT. Wall Street knows these government officials are acting in bad faith ----THEY ARE ENCOURAGING THESE BAD ACTS. So, from the bonds sold to our quasi-governmental Parking Authority that we know are tied to the bond market collapse-----to the wheeling and dealing as Parking Authorities were allowed to invest revenue that should have moved into city coffers.....all bringing losses and Wall Street is RESPONSIBLE. The idea that taxpayers are out just because a public official does not have the wealth to cover all this fraud IS BOGUS.
The problem for Baltimore citizens is a Maryland Attorney General who deliberately pushed a bill through Maryland Assembly to try to stop citizens from pursuing all this coming bond fraud-----FROSH's bill is illegal and unconstitutional as an Attorney General cannot stop all pathways to justice for citizens by placing all such cases in his/her purview.
STATES LIKE MARYLAND USED LAST YEAR'S SESSION TO TRY TO PROTECT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FROM BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL THIS FRAUD---BUT MARYLAND'S BREAKDOWN ON ACCESS TO PUBLIC JUSTICE VIOLATES US CONSTITUTIONAL AND FEDERAL LAW.
So, the next Mayor of Baltimore will not only audit Parking Authority actions -------he/she will END THIS QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL STATUS AND BRING OUR PARKING BACK TO BEING A PUBLIC AGENCY SENDING REVENUE TO OUR GOVERNMENT COFFERS. All of these acts of fraud involving Wall Street were deliberate, willful, and done with malice and will be easily proven. Maryland pols worked hard to tie corporate debt to future citizens and taxpayers-------as a way to control all public policy in the future
Doing this will bring hundreds of millions of dollars back to city coffers-----not including all the fraud to send to ALL THE BALTIMORE COMMUNITIES.
False Claims Act
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the "Lincoln Law") is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. It is the federal Government’s primary litigation tool in combating fraud against the Government. The law includes a qui tam provision that allows people who are not affiliated with the government, called "relators" under the law, to file actions on behalf of the government (informally called "whistleblowing" especially when the relator is employed by the organization accused in the suit). Persons filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (usually about 15–25 percent) of any recovered damages. As of 2012, over 70 percent of all federal Government FCA actions were initiated by whistleblowers. Claims under the law have typically involved health care, military, or other government spending programs, and dominate the list of largest pharmaceutical settlements. The government recovered $38.9 billion under the False Claims Act between 1987 and 2013 and of this amount, $27.2 billion or 70% was from qui tam cases brought by relators.
With No Vote, Taxpayers Stuck With Tab on Bonds
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSHJUNE 25, 2012
Gary Lewis, a Scranton accountant, at the first garage that was financed by the Scranton Parking Authority. Credit Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times
Surprised local taxpayers from Stockton, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts.
Officials have signed them up unknowingly to backstop the bonds of independent authorities, the special bodies of government that run projects like toll roads and power plants.
The practice, meant to save governments money, has been gaining popularity without attracting much notice, and is creating problems for a small but growing number of cities.
Data from Thomson Reuters suggests that local taxpayers are backing so-called enterprise debt at five times the rate they did 10 years ago. The resulting municipal bonds are sometimes called “double barreled,” because they are backed by both the future revenue of a project and some sort of taxpayer backstop. The exact wording and mechanics can vary.
With many cities now preoccupied with other crushing costs — pension obligations, retiree health care, accumulated unpaid bills — a sudden call to honor a long-forgotten bond guarantee can be a bolt from the blue, precipitating a crisis. The obligations mostly lurk in the dark. State laws requiring voter pre-approval of bonds don’t generally apply to guarantees. Local governments typically don’t include them in their own financial statements or set aside reserves to honor them.
Gary Lewis has been trying to persuade the Scranton City Council to put a public briefing on Chapter 9 bankruptcy on its agenda. Credit Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times
“These are debts that do not show up clearly, no matter how closely you look at the balance sheets,” said Carmen M. Reinhart, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics who has written extensively about government debt. They “come out of the woodwork in bad times.”
In a number of communities, especially in New Jersey, Michigan and Washington State, local officials have recently scrambled to work out fiscal emergencies caused by guarantees and similar promises. Hoboken dodged a bullet last year, for instance, when a buyer was found for a bankrupt hospital whose debt the city had guaranteed. Buena Vista, Va., narrowly missed a creditor foreclosure of its city hall and police building, after a park authority failed to repay the bonds for a golf course.
In other places, bond guarantees have been time bombs, causing problems too severe to be solved in a workout. Stockton may be headed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy this week after pledging taxpayer money to backstop authorities’ debts for a hockey arena and other showcase buildings. Scranton, a faded former coal center, touched off a full-blown debt crisis this month, losing access to the capital markets when its City Council refused to honor a taxpayer guarantee for a parking authority’s bonds.
Residents of Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg, recently learned from a forensic audit that their city’s fiscal woes could be traced to a guarantee issued in 1998, for the bonds of a trash incinerator project. Every few years after that, the authority running the project issued more bonds, and the city guaranteed those as well.
The audit showed that the authority had been selling new bonds for the cash to pay its older bonds — saving unwitting residents from having to honor their guarantees for a time, but blowing up their debt from the incinerator to an impossible $310 million. That’s more than three times what residents owe on the city’s own bonds.
Harrisburg tried unsuccessfully to declare bankruptcy last year but was blocked by the state. It is widely expected to try again.
Moody’s Investors Service issued a report this year on taxpayer bond guarantees in New Jersey, after noticing a big upswing there since 2008. The firm is making a broad review of places that it rated in the past, where circumstances may now be changed. In New Jersey, it said, some cities and counties had evidently discovered that by working with independent authorities, they could bypass legal limits on their own indebtedness.
The “full faith and taxing power” of communities, a solemn pledge, was being used to guarantee revenue bonds for nonessentials like solar-power projects, apartment buildings and a soccer stadium — things bailout-weary taxpayers might walk away from if the guarantees were called.
Moody’s cut several communities’ own credit ratings to junk, briefly making New Jersey the nation’s leader in junk-rated municipalities. (Now Michigan has that distinction.) The gritty town of Harrison, just across the Passaic River from Newark, had its rating cut a rare eight notches in a single year, when it couldn’t honor a promise to pay debts connected with construction of the Red Bull soccer stadium.
Harrison had to borrow from Hudson County to get through the crisis, but that in turn raised doubts about whether the county’s taxpayers would honor their guarantee of yet another project’s debts — $85 million for a faltering waste-disposal system.
“We are seeing more of these than we had seen previously,” said Matt Fabian, managing director of Municipal Market Advisors, a research and advisory firm for municipal bonds. “The weak economy is making weak projects worse. It is undermining cities’ abilities and willingness to backstop these projects when they do fail.”
Though the number of cases is small, Mr. Fabian said, they send a loud signal to investors about a decline in communities’ willingness to honor their promises.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board on Monday released a draft of a new standard that would require governments to disclose details of the guarantees they have issued for other entities’ debts. The board started working on the new rules last year, after seeing more and more little-known guarantees coming to light.
The board’s research also showed that some guarantees were very large. The State of Texas, for one, has guaranteed the debts of all the school districts in that state, to the tune of a total of $50 billion. Texas has set aside about $25 billion, however, which analysts consider adequate. A number of states have also guaranteed venture capital projects.
Scranton’s version of a debt crisis began when a local parking authority said it couldn’t make a bond payment coming due in June, calling on the city’s guarantee. The authority had issued bonds to finance parking garages that the city had used in a campaign to woo Hilton Hotels and Resorts to operate a conference center downtown.
Each time the authority issued more bonds, the city backed them with a powerful “full faith and credit” guarantee. But by 2008 the authority had $54 million in bonds outstanding, and was spending about 60 percent of its budget on debt service — so much that it could not cut parking rates to compete with cheaper parking lots nearby.
A majority on the City Council refused to honor the guarantee, saying the authority’s finances were in disarray and they wanted to strike a blow for fiscal rectitude.
Suddenly, Scranton, which has been in dire fiscal straits for years, was a pariah. Only one bank had been willing to help it raise money, and it backed out of a $16 million deal to provide short-term financing. Without that cash, the mayor said Scranton couldn’t make its next payroll. The city’s fuel supplier threatened to halt deliveries of gasoline, which would idle the police cars and garbage trucks. More than a dozen other vendors cut off the city’s credit.
A bond insurer, Radian Asset Assurance, started a 30-day countdown to foreclosure on the authority’s parking garages. The trustee for the bondholders, Bank of New York Mellon, warned that it would get a court-ordered tax increase.
Taken aback, the mayor and City Council changed course, saying Scranton would pay the parking authority’s debts after all. But the damage was done. The initial decision to not make the $1 million bond payment had tainted Scranton’s credit on all of its debts for the foreseeable future.
“There’s no going back,” said Gary Lewis, a Scranton native and accountant who has been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to persuade the City Council to put a public briefing on Chapter 9 bankruptcy onto its agenda. “We’ve proven that the city has failed to comply with its existing bond covenants on absolutely everything we owe.”
Indeed, creditors say they have found other “conditions of default” that cannot be corrected quickly, like the failure to have structural engineers inspect the parking garages, or to get yearly financial audits. Boyd Hughes, a lawyer for the City Council, said he expected creditors to seize the parking garages and sell them to raise cash for the bondholders.
Mr. Lewis, who works on the forced mergers that follow bank failures, said he did not think the garages would fetch enough in a fire sale to cover all the authority’s debts, so the bondholder representatives would soon be back on the city’s own doorstep, clamoring for a tax increase that Scranton’s guarantee legally entitles them to.
“You can’t do it. You can’t raise real estate taxes beyond what they are in this city,” Mr. Lewis said.
Such situations leave states facing painful quandaries, Ms. Reinhart said. In Pennsylvania, not only are Scranton and Harrisburg struggling with bond guarantees, but another troubled city, Allentown, is defending itself against lawsuits by surrounding communities, accusing it of a convoluted plan to make their residents backstop an authority’s bonds for a new hockey arena. Construction has stopped on the arena, and residents are living with a big hole in the ground and a cloud of uncertainty.
“It’s a possibility that Pennsylvania does nothing and says, ‘O.K., you’re on your own. You default, and that’s that,’ ” Ms. Reinhart said. “Or it could be that the state intervenes, even though it doesn’t guarantee the cities’ debt explicitly.” The problem, she said, is that the bailout of just one distressed city “is a license for everybody to overspend, on the assumption that they’ll be bailed out.”
You know when books are written and businesses started all around parking ticket fraud------we are living a third world existence. Baltimore is tops in using parking tickets and speeding tickets for revenue since it calls itself corporate tax-free and corporate subsidy -----it needs to drain citizens of every thing it can. From towing costs that are huge----to parking tickets that are too high----to late fees that take a $25 ticket to hundreds of dollars----Baltimore City could end this if it ended fraud, corruption, and built a local economy.
We have already heard of these new parking meters being inaccurate------people are now told to be on guard. THAT IS NOT WHAT CITIZENS EXPECT----TO BE ON GUARD. The other problem with new meters is credit card fraud as this is an easy source of hacking. So, a social Democrat sees public parking not as profit or revenue----it sees it as a service to be provided to citizens at the lowest cost. From residential parking permits-----to high per-hour rates on downtown lots----
IT NEEDS TO GO AS WE ALLOW CORPORATIONS TO BE GOOD CITIZENS AND PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES AND END THE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION.
Read about the 73 (yes 73!) parking ticket scams that Appealnow.com has uncovered. Thousands of parking tickets have been issued using this scams and councils just ignore the problem.
Drivers Outraged Over Unfair Parking Tickets After I-Team Report
One Los Angeles driver found a parking ticket on his windshield while time was still on the meterBy Joel Grover
Southern California drivers are reacting furiously to the I-Team report earlier this week that exposed how Los Angeles is writing tickets at malfunctioning meters, despite a new law forbidding broken meter tickets. Some residents have even been ticketed while time was still on their meter. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (Published Friday, March 14, 2014)Cities across Southern California are taking a second look at some questionable parking tickets as a result of an NBC4 I-Team investigation that exposed unfair ticketing by traffic officers.
Dozens of drivers are reacting furiously to the I-Team report on Monday that exposed how Los Angeles is writing tickets at malfunctioning meters, despite a new law forbidding broken meter tickets.
Drivers Say New Parking Meters Eat Your Money
Posted 6:34 pm, May 7, 2014, by Michele Reese
Michael McGhee learned that the hard way.
“I paid the meter and I think I’m fine,” McGhee said. “I come back, and I have a ticket."
A $21 ticket McGhee says he doesn't deserve.
“I put a quarter in, and it says a minimum of 50 cents, so I go back in the car, going through the tray, found another quarter, ran up, put it in, ran to Lenny's,” he said. "I come back and I have a ticket on the car. I was like, how do I have a ticket?"
So he looked at the meter.
“It said zero,” he said.
He put 50 cents in, but the meter didn't register that because the new smart meters the City of Memphis installed a few months ago are time sensitive...but there's no sign on the meter to tell you.
You have 17 seconds to put your second quarter in, or the whole meter resets.
"I can understand the frustration with this particular meter and hopefully once you experience that one time you won’t have that experience again,” City Engineer John Cameron said.
Reporter: "Is there any way to get your money back or do you lose your money if you don’t hit the 17 seconds?"
Cameron: "On these particular meters, you do not get your money back."
He said when the city purchased the new meters, the default time from the company was set at seven seconds, and the city added ten seconds to give you more time.
“We had to weigh between how much time to give people to find the change and how long we wanted people to wait for confirmation that there transaction was accepted."
He says the good thing with these meters is, if you don’t have the change on hand, you can use your credit card, which is why there's a minimum on the meters.
"One of the disadvantages is that there are charges associated with credit cards, and the cost of the new equipment mandated that we put a 50 cent minimum on the new parking meters."
Most people we spoke with didn't know about the new minimum or the time crunch to feed the meter.
“It would be nice if it was printed on there,” one customers said. “It makes sense to be a little more forthcoming about it.”
McGhee said he hopes the city will consider alerting customers, or increase the time so you don’t learn a costly lesson, too.
This will be my last example of Baltimore City agencies tied to parking and the towing that is filled with fraud as well. Baltimore City even has fraud in its impounding lot as cars seized for parking tickets are sold on the cheap----leaving the citizen with no car and still having all of the parking and towing costs to pay----
Baltimore outsources this job category as well and citizens have long felt fearful of having their cars captured into this mess. When people are losing their cars because they cannot pay for towing and fees-----just as people are losing their homes for not being able to pay water or property taxes------we have a predatory government starved by Wall Street Baltimore Development and a very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins -----
When people do not have affordable public garages and lots downtown they are pushed to illegal parking----when residential areas are permitted with public venues having no off-street parking-----people are going to be late coming back to cars. I know I can be eating at a restaurant all while looking out the window for the parking officers.
THIS IS NOT QUALITY OF LIFE FOLKS.
Dishonest tow truck operators are hauling away more than illegally parked cars in these widely-practiced towing scams
Everyone knows that most tow truck operators are decent, hard-working people. The come rescue your vehicle when its broken down or been in an accident and take it wherever you you ask them to. Besides this valuable service, tow trucks also clear the city streets and private parking lots of illegally parked vehicles. Parking spots are becoming harder and harder to find and business owners need to have them available for customers to park in. Illegal parking can hurt the revenues of businesses if there is nowhere to park.
As you can see, towing is a legitimate business that serves the needs of the consumer. So what is driving all this talk about towing scams and “bandit” tow truck operators?
“Bandit” tow operators are differentiated from legitimate tow operators in their practice of monitoring private parking lots in order to tow away vehicles whose owners are not patrons of the businesses associated with that lot. Often, the tow operators dismiss the fact that the car owner does patronize a business associated with the lot before going elsewhere.
Know your rights!If you are a victim of a “bandit” tow truck operator, remember these facts: The tow operator does not have a legal lien on your vehicle until it is in transit on a public highway.
- If you car is already on the tow truck, but still in the parking lot, the tow operator can ask you for half of what an Official Police Garage would charge for towing.
- If you will not or cannot pay the requested amount, the issue becomes a civil matter, and the tow operator must release your vehicle.
- If the tow operator leaves the lot with your vehicle because you would not or could not pay the requested amount, the tow operator is in violation of California Vehicle Code 10851, which is taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. The law may be different in your state but there are many laws in many states that protect you and your car from tow truck operators.
- In some scams, businesses are ripped off by con artists posing as tow truck operators. They call the business telling them that they are bringing a vehicle in for repairs or services. The scammer does whatever paperwork is required then hand the business owner or employee the keys. The business then pays the tow truck operator the towing fee thinking they will be re-imbursed the money. Only there is no car being towed and the keys are just some random keys that go to who knows what.
- In many areas there are laws against towing companies driving around looking for parking violations so that they can tow vehicles away. The towing company gets around this by having another company do the looking for it. Sometimes the same person that owns the towing company owns the business actively looking for cars to tow. Believe it or not, this is perfectly legal in many areas. To make matters worse, these unscrupulous towing companies target low-income housing and apartment complexes.
- Some bandit towing operations profile vehicles for the best chance at successfully making money. They don’t want old, beat up cars because their owners are usually low-income people that might not be able to afford the impound fees. In that case the towing company might have to deal with police to have the vehicle disposed of and in the meantime if takes up valuable lot space. The also shun more expensive models like Mercedes, Porsche and BMW because the of the possibility of damage being done to the car during the tow. Reimbursment due to tow damage is rare but all the same they don’t want to run the risk of getting sued. This leaves everyone else a potential target with Toyotas and Hondas topping their favorites list.
- Sometimes a tow truck operator will try to insist that your vehicle be towed to “his” shop for servicing. Don’t give into this. They should be able to tow your car wherever you need it to be towed. If they won’t do it try to find someone else to tow your car where you’d like it to go.