Some Chicago drivers who accept had their cars towed got a little achievement this anniversary afterwards the Illinois Commerce Commission, a accompaniment blank agency, revoked the authorization of Lincoln Towing Service.
The ICC has accustomed bags of complaints about the aggregation over the years. ICC backer Victoria Crawford said the bureau launched an analysis in 2016 based on those complaints. She said that amid July 2015 and March 2016, the ICC begin affirmation of added than 800 actionable acreage seizures.
“Lincoln Towing Service has not conducted its business with bluntness and candor and is base to authority a bartering agent relocators’ license,” she said.
The company’s bad acceptability spans decades. Steve Goodman alike wrote a song about them in 1972 alleged “Lincoln Esplanade Pirates.”
“To me way, hey. Tow them away. We boodle the streets of your town,” he sang.
Lincoln Towing did not acknowledge to assorted requests for an interview. But at a 2016 audition afore a Chicago burghal board committee, advocate Allen Perl, who has represented Lincoln Towing for added than 20 years, fabricated it bright he was not a fan of the song.
“If you appetite to get article bound with Lincoln Towing, don’t adduce the Lincoln Towing song to me. That doesn’t beggarly annihilation to me. My applicant was 10 years old at the time,” he said.
The accepted buying took over the aggregation in 1993. In official papers, Perl said the business is fit to operate.
William Rankin, a retired academy principal, begged to differ. He owns a bartering acreage on Chicago’s Arctic Side. He already had a arrangement with Lincoln Towing to administer his baby parking lot.
“The arrangement acutely declared that I had to be on the spot, appearance them the car and point it out afore they towed it,” he said.
Rankin wasn’t stingy about the lot. He accustomed adolescent workers from a adjacent barbecue y to esplanade there. Lincoln Towing hauled their cars abroad after his permission.
“These are kids that are alive for minimum wage, and for them to appear up with $200 to retrieve their car was aloof terrible,” he said.
Rankin said it got alike worse. He let an aged acquaintance who was ability blight analysis esplanade abaft his building. Lincoln took that car, too.
“It was algidity and the snow was about a bottom and a half, 2 anxiety deep, and he had to get on two buses to go bottomward and retrieve his car and of course, pay the $200 and some dollars they answerable him,” he said.
Rankin said the aggregation promised reimbursements, but the checks didn’t come.
“I anticipate that was their modus operandi, too. If addition complained, they’d accomplish a affiance and aloof not chase through on the promise. These bodies were thieves, and there’s no added way to put it,” he said.
Rankin’s acquaintance is agnate to hundreds of others who filed complaints adjoin Lincoln Towing. He was charmed back the ICC absolutely voted 5-0 to abjure Lincoln’s relocators’ authorization this week.
But the adventure isn’t absolutely over yet. There’s a band in the “Lincoln Esplanade Pirates” song that goes, “no one can accomplish us shut down.” The aggregation has requested a rehearing with the ICC, and it’s filed a motion in Cook County cloister to resume operations while the agency decides to whether to analysis the case.
Rankin said he’s accommodating to abide the fight. But in the meantime, he no best affairs with a towing aggregation to baby-sit his clandestine lot. He artlessly leaves a agenda for violators.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Having your car towed is a pain. Having your car towed by an abominable towing aggregation in Chicago that has abashed motorists for bisected a aeon – a affliction all its own. This week, Chicago drivers honked sighs of abatement back the accompaniment revoked Lincoln Towing’s authorization and accepted the aggregation anon cease operations. From affiliate base WBEZ, Susie An has the story. And as you’ll hear, Lincoln fabricated one afflicted disciplinarian so affronted she banned to use profanity.
SUSIE AN, BYLINE: Lincoln Towing Service is one of the better towing companies in Chicago with about 20,000 parking lot contracts. Here’s what some barter had to say about them.
CHRISTINE PRICE: A rather ample tow barter ran through the intersection, abounding speed, red light, and if anyone had been there, they would accept been obliterated.
BRIAN RICHARDS: I accept two tenants of abundance that had their cars towed. I collection them bottomward to the tow center, and I paid for anniversary of their vehicles.
ABBY AMY: I accustomed vulgarities and told that if I capital my agent assorted times that I was activity to accept to effing pay – alibi my accent – I debris to use profanity.
AN: That was Christine Price, Brian Richards and Abby Amy testifying afore a Chicago Burghal Board board in 2016 about Lincoln Towing. William Rankin helped advance the allegation adjoin the company. He’s a retired academy arch who owns a bartering architecture on the city’s arctic side. He assassin Lincoln Towing to administer his baby lot, but he claims they hauled cars abroad after his permission. In one incident, he had let an aged acquaintance who was ability blight analysis esplanade abaft his building. Lincoln took abroad his car.
WILLIAM RANKIN: It was wintertime. The snow was about a bottom and a half, two anxiety deep, and he had to get on two buses to go bottomward and retrieve his car and, of course, pay the 200 and some dollars they answerable him.
AN: Rankin says the aggregation promised reimbursements, but the checks didn’t come.
RANKIN: I anticipate that was their modus operandi, too. If somebody complained, they’d accomplish a affiance and again aloof not chase through on the promise. These bodies were thieves, and there’s no added way to put it.
AN: You apperceive it’s bad back there’s alike a song about it.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “LINCOLN PARK PIRATES”)
STEVE GOODMAN: (Singing) To me away, hey, tow them away. We boodle the streets of your town…
AN: That’s “Lincoln Esplanade Pirates,” a song accounting by Steve Goodman in 1972. Advocate Allen Perl represents Lincoln Towing, and he’s acutely not a fan of that song. Here he is testifying afore the burghal board in 2016.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
ALLEN PERL: And if you appetite to get article bound with Lincoln Towing, don’t adduce the Lincoln Towing song to me. That doesn’t beggarly annihilation to me. My applicant was 10 years old at the time.
AN: Perl didn’t acknowledge to assorted requests for an interview, but in official filings, he defends the aggregation and says it operates lawfully. Since then, the Illinois Commerce Agency has accustomed hundreds of complaints about the company. ICC backer Victoria Crawford says it begin that amid July of 2015 to March of 2016 the aggregation fabricated added than 800 actionable tows.
VICTORIA CRAWFORD: Lincoln Towing Service has not conducted its business with bluntness and candor and is base to authority a bartering agent relocators license.
AN: On Wednesday, the ICC voted absolutely to abjure Lincoln’s license. But balked Chicago drivers may delay afore celebrating. There’s a band in the “Lincoln Esplanade Pirate” song that goes no one can accomplish us shut down. And indeed, Lincoln Towing is requesting addition audition afore the Commerce Agency and has filed a motion in Cook County cloister to resume operations. William Rankin says he’s accommodating to abide the fight.
RANKIN: It’s abiding vigilance, you know, but I’m an old man. I don’t apperceive how for continued I’ll be around.
AN: For his clandestine parking lot, Rankin no best works with a towing company. He artlessly leaves a agenda on the windshield for parking violators. For NPR News, I’m Susie An.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “LINCOLN PARK PIRATES”)
GOODMAN: (Singing) Always aggregate our fees… Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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