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Towing company files lawsuit in effort to open up city contract to bidding

Photo by David Muñoz.


Alhambra , CA United States

A towing company has filed court documents to compel the City of Alhambra to open up their towing contract to other companies, claiming that their exclusive relationship with another towing company violates the city charter.

Henry’s Towing has filed a petition with the Superior Court of Los Angeles to allow them to bid on the city contract. They said the City’s exclusive contract with Al’s Towing, which was renewed July 2016, contradicted language in the city charter that “no exclusive franchise shall ever be granted.”

Robert Ring, a lawyer for Henry’s Towing, pointed out that the City got rid of the franchise fee that Al’s Towing originally had to pay them, resulting in lost revenue for Alhambra.

In an effort to resolve the dispute sooner, Ring addressed the City Council last Monday. “Rather than continuing litigation, I think what the City should do is good government,” Ring said. “We should meet with your your city manager, your city attorney, and say, ‘This is our view of your charter. Do you really disagree?'”

Joseph Montes, Alhambra’s city attorney, told the Alhambra Source that no meeting with Henry’s Towing had been scheduled since Ring’s City Council contract. He had no comment on the pending litigation.

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4 thoughts on “Towing company files lawsuit in effort to open up city contract to bidding”

  1. Johnathan Silver

    I can certainly respect and understand the desire for a discussion regarding any city contract and exclusivity. What I cannot comprehend is why this company initiated litigious action. Henry’s Tow has held the exclusive rights to towing in the city of South Pasadena for over 30 years and has never paid a franchise fee. Why now is this such a concern for an organization that benefited from the exact contract structure for over 3 decades in a neighboring city? I am more concerned with the motives of this company than with our current towing situation. Personally I believe we have many more pressing matters to address in our city that greatly affect our community members.

    1. Hi, Jonathan. I don’t know anything about South Pasadena’s towing contracts, but regardless, two wrongs don’t make a right. What South Pasadena is doing does not legitimize what Alhambra is doing. The whole point of open bidding is to induce competition and get a better deal for the city. It also stems corruption.

      It boggles the mind that the Alhambra City Council would give up tens of thousands of dollars a year in franchise fees when that same city council is so quick to chastise other community members about the city’s bottom line.

      Yes, I agree that Alhambra has many important matters that city hall needs to address (and they should get on that), but the way city hall doles out contracts is a pressing matter that should not be ignored. Giving no-bid city contracts to favored sons and daughters and large campaign donors establishes a toxic governmental and political environment that undermines Alhambra’s democratic institutions.

  2. Cronyism must end at Alhambra City Hall. Pay-to-play makes a mockery of our democratic institutions.

  3. Michael Lawrence

    This is a perfect example of why we need campaign donation reform. Joe Pavone owner of Al’s Towing sits on the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce board of directors and has given thousands of dollars to past and present council members. When Henry’s threatened a lawsuit in 2016 the city attorney found a way to redo the contract by eliminating the franchise portion to make it exclusive to Al’s Towing.
    The city lost between $45,000 and $50,000 in revenue per year but circumvented an open bid and fair determination of who should get the contract. So does this sound like fair play? We need to stop no bid contracts and this kind of campaign money to our council. Pay to Play? You tell me.
    Here is a link to the 2016 story about the contract.