The City of El Monte recently terminated its contract with Albert's Towing Services citing a failure of the company to pay more than $120,000 in fees owed to the City.
In the course of investigating violations of Albert's Tow's contract with the City to tow vehicles impounded by the Police Department, the City also investigated reports of larger operational deficiencies and irregularities which would not only constitute violations of the contract, but may also violate State laws governing tow company operations. Among the allegations shared with the City were reports that Albert's Tow was overcharging vehicle owners and only accepting cash for the release of vehicles. It was also alleged that signage at private parking lots intended to alert vehicle owners that their vehicles could be towed was deficient.
"We have zero tolerance for companies who break the law and bully our residents," said Mayor André Quintero. "As soon as we heard about how they were towing cars illegally, we asked staff to investigate. I am proud that we are taking action to rid our City of businesses who take advantage of our community."
The City embarked on the investigation after receiving numerous complaints from community members about unfair and illegal towing practices in a parking lot adjacent to the local courthouse. The towing of vehicles from this location was not conducted under the authority of Albert's Tow's contract with the City but was instead carried out under a separate private arrangement between the tow company and the property owner.
On May 14, 2014, the City issued notification that it was formally suspending the agreement with Albert's Tow and would immediately cease to refer vehicles to the company. A final termination notice was issued on June 19, 2014. The City will work with local prosecutors and State regulators to ensure that anybody who is found to have violated State laws are held accountable.
The City of El Monte will also actively explore ways to recover any and all monies owed to the City.
Albert's Towing Services was one of two towing companies contracted by the City to provide tow services.