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Posted on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Emails show tow company owner concerned new Ann Arbor towing agreement could hurt business

By Ryan J. Stanton

A new agreement between the city of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County is expected to provide some relief for people when their cars are towed, but it might cost tow companies.

Dennis Brewer, who owns both Brewer's Towing and Sakstrup's Towing, made that argument in an email to city officials before the City Council voted on the contract last week.

The agreement prohibits tow companies that want to do business with the city and county from charging a one-day storage fee if the person retrieves his or her vehicle within eight hours.


The Brewer's Towing yard off Plymouth Road as it looked on Friday afternoon. The company's owner is worried about potential loss of revenue from a new public tow agreement approved by the Ann Arbor City Council.

Daniel Brenner I

Brewer argued in an Aug. 19 email that the eight-hour grace period — while it would help residents save a little on costs — would be damaging to his business.

"When we negotiated the price at $120 per tow, we were under the assumption that we would always be charging storage from the time the vehicle arrived in our lot," Brewer wrote, referring to the $20-a-day storage fees that are tacked on top of other towing charges.

City officials didn't think it was fair to charge residents a full day's storage fee if they promptly paid their towing fees and retrieved their cars, so they stipulated the eight-hour grace period.

"As you know, this could cause a financial hardship for us since property taxes, fuel costs, insurance increases and labor costs are all a major concern," Brewer wrote. "We would like to be able to financially reward our employees on an annual basis, as do most companies and municipalities, and having to decrease our revenue on storage fees may impact this benefit."

Brewer sent the email directly to City Council Member Jane Lumm, which followed a phone conversation they had earlier that day.

Lumm relayed the email to other city officials and raised additional concerns on behalf of Brewer, whom she referred to as her longtime friend "Denny."

Campaign finance records show the Brewer family, specifically Brewer's wife Nancy, gave $100 to Lumm's campaign last year.

"One issue that sounds like a hardship for the potential contractors/towers is this issue of free storage for the first 8 hours," Lumm wrote.

"The financial impact of this free storage proposal on the towing companies is, as has been described to me, not insignificant," she added.

Despite her concerns, Lumm ultimately voted in favor of the new towing agreement, which was unanimously approved by council.

The five-year agreement takes effect Jan. 1, with the county assuming most of the administrative responsibilities. The county plans to issue a request for proposals, asking private tow companies to submit bids to handle public tows under the new contract terms.

Lumm said she's hopeful the RFP will address some of the concerns. But she said on Monday she ultimately came to the conclusion that having tow companies share in the city's cost reduction effort makes sense and she's confident the companies can come up with a business model that works for them.

Mayor John Hieftje said if certain companies don't think the new contract terms make economic sense for their businesses, they don't have to respond to the RFP and bid on the work.

"I'm not really concerned about the towing companies. Any company that doesn't want to work with the city or county doesn't have to," Hieftje said on Monday.

"I've been frustrated about the towing contract for several years and frustrated it took so long to get this worked out," he added. "I would have liked to see greater savings for residents because I think our charges are high, so I've been pushing for a change for a long time."

Hieftje noted the new agreement streamlines the process so people whose cars are towed can go straight to the tow yard and pay all fees there instead of first stopping at the police department.

Brewer argued that means tow companies now are going to be processing administrative fees on behalf of the city and county, and they'll have to bear the added cost of credit card fees.


Jane Lumm

When reached by phone on Monday, Brewer declined to speak with about the issue, saying only: "I have nothing to say."

Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer, said the eight-hour grace period is an effort to reduce the cost of a typical tow but not have the city and county feel the full effect. He said it's also true tow companies will have to absorb the processing fee, and that'll be a factor for tow companies to consider.

"This would have the tow companies share in the effort to reduce the cost," he wrote in an email. "However, the effect on tow companies is not certain since the final RFP could address this issue by increasing the storage fee on vehicles held for more than 8 hours or some other method."

Under the new arrangement, Crawford noted, the city's $60 administrative fee for public tows also is being reduced to $45, with $30 going to the county and $15 staying with the city.

Lumm said she was only trying to understand the fairness and cost equity of what she called the "free storage" proposition.

"Obviously requiring free storage is an added cost burden for the towing companies, an added cost they are unable to recoup," she said.

Lumm said Brewer's Towing pays about $37,000 per month for fuel and she was concerned there are no fuel increase cost provisions in the contract.

She also said tow truck drivers are paid on commission, so the changes either cut into their compensation or come as an added cost of business. She said she wanted taxpayers and residents to have a good deal, but she didn't want to impose too heavy a burden on tow companies.

In addition to the towing agreement, city officials are responding to concerns raised by residents that a city ordinance related to towing abandoned vehicles may be too vague.

The ordinance in question states if a vehicle has remained standing or parked on public or private property "for a period of time so that it appears to be abandoned," the city can affix a notice to the vehicle requiring its removal. If a vehicle is not removed within 48 hours after the notice is affixed, the vehicle is deemed abandoned and the city can have it towed.

The ordinance doesn't define criteria for what can make a vehicle appear to be abandoned, nor is the "period of time" defined.

Ann Arbor resident Mahendra Ramsinghani raised concerns this past week that his Lexus and another vehicle left parked on the street near his house were deemed abandoned within about a day or two after he and his wife left to go on vacation. He paid $825 to get the two cars back.

Other residents have stepped forward since Ramsinghani shared his story with and said the same thing happened to them.

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, said she's heard similar stories in the past. She plans to work with the city attorney's office and hopes to bring forward changes to the ordinance regarding abandoned vehicles.

"I am concerned about trimming up the language," she said.

Hieftje said he wants to see changes, too, but he said it's important that the ordinance remains broad enough to cover a wide range of circumstances that might come up.

"It was designed to have better control over people who just leave their cars on the street," he said of the ordinance. "But it sounds like it needs some work. I'm happy to work on it."

Hieftje said the ordinance is complaint-driven, meaning a neighbor or someone else usually calls to complain before the city gets involved. Most of the time that system works well to keep abandoned vehicles off the street, he said, but other times it doesn't.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:07 a.m.

@middle America...This alleged extortion victim that you have first hand knowledge of...I was wondering if this person pursued the issue? Did he call Brewers? File a complaint? Is there proof of this incident even happening? All of your Brewer bashing on this, as well as the previous thread, makes one wonder what your motive is. Wishing someone ends up homeless seems a bit harsh don't you think? Or calling the company "garbage". Why so much venom?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

@middle america,,,,you sure seem to have a bone to pick with Brewer. Plenty of accusations with nothing solid to back you up. How bout we get a list of what Dennis has done for the community and compare it to your list. I suspect that if you even have a list it pales in comparison to Dennis'. While we are doing that why don't we also compare your business accomplishments to his. Oops, again no list for you. Your bashing reeks of a vendetta.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 9 p.m.

The reasons that impounds are more expensive than owner-request tows are many: 1) It is more difficult to tow a vehicle without the keys. 2) To have a contract to tow for the police often involves additional requirements of equipment, availability, response time, insurance, and a storage yard. 3) Impounds require a storage yard which is lit, fenced, secure, and insured. This insurance is more than for a parking lot or garage where the owner is parking at their own risk. 4) Office staff must be available to handle paperwork to release vehicles to the owner (and only the owner) and deal with customers who may be irate. 5) There are some calls to which the tow truck responses to the scene to find the vehicle gone, so there is time, fuel, etc. expended, but no income. 6) some vehicles are truly abandoned and never claimed, so the work is done including a huge amount of paperwork and storage, but there is no income unless the vehicle can be sold at auction or salvaged, but often this produces less income than the costs were. One of the main reasons for cash only on impounds is the number of stop payments on checks and challenged charges on credit cards with non-consensual tows.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

Wow! I wish this comment could be the first. It is terribly enlightening. Besides buying and maintaining expensive tow trucks, training and retaining qualified drivers, there are other cost concerns. We as a city want the best price for services but this is an area where we don't want to sacrifice quality.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

More imprtant than the $20 reduction for citizens is the issue of whether the tow companies tow cars illegally that have not been ticketed or that are parked briefly in empty private lots without any call-in complaint. I guaranty that these two companies tow cars temporarily parked to unload/unpack on private lots without a single call of complaint. This is the real injustice as cars not taking up space from others stopped only momentarily are being towed without anyone complaining- in essence the tow companies need to be held accountable for towing only when cars are ticketed or a formal compliant has been registered, otherwise they have free reign to harass and print money. Whcih is exactly what they do.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

I must take exception. I have called often to impound cars (mostly students) that are parked on my business lot. Brewers WILL NOT tow the car without a signature from the property owner!

Middle America

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

Brewer's is garbage. I have heard first hand accounts of their tow truck drivers extorting money. Show up to your car and it is being towed? If you give the driver some money, he'll give it back and not tow it and long as you have the cash.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

I have seen Brewers drivers that I have called to impound a car REFUSE money from a customer just as they were ready to hook up. The cars were illegally parked but because the car was not on the lift, they explained that they cannot legally charge a customer. No first hand account heresay, I was actually there!

Middle America

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

No one called them. They were cruising around an apartment complex looking for cars without proper permits. As they were hoisting it up, they said they'd let it go for some cash. No receipt. "Everyone should remember that their primary function is to assist stranded motorists..." Yeah right.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

A question about these first hand accounts you've heard of...did the alleged "victim" contact anyone at Brewers regarding this issue? Because when a driver responds to a call, it is because a dispatcher has sent them to a specific place. Before they can touch the car, they must first call the police with both the plate and vin# to assure that the car is not stolen. At this point there is a paper trail and showing where that driver is. If the owner of the vehicle appears once the car is hooked up, the driver is obligated, as per the contract, to charge a "hook and drop" fee. Cash or credit card is accepted, and a receipt is ALWAYS given. The invoices the drivers carry are numbered, and they must all be accounted for at the end of their shift, with one for every call they had. If the alleged "victim" of this incident had called Brewers, the consequence for the driver would have been immediate termination. The comments on this thread have been appalling, painting all drivers as shady criminals who wake up every day plotting who's life they can make miserable. But in reality, the job they do is not only dangerous, its something most people couldn't begin to do for themselves. Its dirty, backbreaking work, and they don't deserve the bashing they've been taking. Everyone should remember that their primary function is to assist stranded motorists, and you just may need them one day.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

No receipt. Call me crazy but I have a feeling the towing guys keep the money for themselves when they do this.

Fat Bill

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

That is called a "hook and drop", which is provided for in the towing contract and state law. Note too, that in the latest contract, the cost of a hook and drop did NOT increase. The law says you should receive a receipt as well. This is not an extraordinary event.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Here we go blaming the tow company,for the stupidity of the car owner.Brewers. has been a business and tax payer for 50 yrs in the city of Ann Arbor.Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.! Checkout Glen Ann and Budget Towing prices and charges inflated city and state fees !


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

nobody takes responsibility for their own actions anymore, its always someone else's fault.

Fat Bill

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

Note that Budget and Glen Ann are not on the city towing contract: they can charge whatever the court will let them for impounds from private property.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

You are right about Glen Ann Towing. In my dealings with them, they absolutely do troll neighborhoods, they charge exorbitant towing/storage fees, and are extremely rude and incompetent.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Day three of Brewer-bashing courtesy of I guess the mayor is really POd this time.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Make a requirement in the city that ALL tows be request/complaint driven and document those complaints - and requests. Make them reviewable by the car owners. Even the private tows. I think some of the confusion in the previous comments comes from the driver-initiated tows from private lots. They do indeed prowl the neighborhoods and private lots to take ars. They take 'em and hold them for ransom without proof and there isn't any recourse for the car owners to take. Its a rip off. Compare what you pay to get your car back to what is costs to tow your car based on request. My baloney meter is way in the red.

Fat Bill

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

Drivers may indeed patrol private property per the request of the property owners; the notion that wrecker operators can initiate a tow on the street is ABSOLUTELY FALSE! There is no legal basis for that. On the other hand, there are plenty of cars every single day that park beside a bright red fire hydrant, or right in front of a No Parking sign. Or they choose to not pay those parking tickets, and boy are they surprised when the city's automatic license plate reader identifies their ride and it ends up in an impound yard.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

There needs to be an investigation into whether tow companies and their agents are anonymous calling in target cars to increase business. A careful analysis of calling patterns - the frequency, the time, etc - should reveal whether the system is being gamed in the name of greed.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

I think Dennis would love to have this investigation. It's laughable that he would be involved in any such thing.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Yeah Ron! How dare you question God-like local businessman Dennis Brewer. Praise his name!


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

@RG...I would put Dennis Brewer's word and actions up against anyone including you. He is as honest and forthright an individual as there is. It is apparent you do not know the man so keep on wondering. There are plenty of other Brewer bashers out there that have absolutely no clue how a towing business operates and far to much he said, she said which means nothing.

Ron Granger

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

a2roots, are you sure you aren't describing Don Corleone from the Godfather movies? Because whenever someone is described as so far beyond reproach, I start to wonder.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

The integrity of Dennis Brewer is beyond reproach. Your accusations are without merit and lack any substance. My guess is you could never come close his contributions to the community in both time and money. By making comments such you do all you do is show your ignorance.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

"Dennis Brewer, who owns both Brewer's Towing and Sakstrup's Towing" It must be so frustrating to get that monopoly on towing in a town, and then have regulations hamper your profits, even just a little.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

For the love of GOD people, do your research!! There are 3 towing companies with police contracts in Ann Arbor, and they all charge exactly the same prices. The only reason they aren't ALL mentioned in Ryan Stanton's journalistic masterpieces is because he obviously only has an axe to grind with Dennis Brewer. If Mr. Stanton was striving to write an unbiased report on storage fees and police contracts he should have also contacted Triangle Towing. I'm guessing they are none too thrilled about the changes in the storage fees either.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

There is prob a monopoly on towing because everyone else realizes there is no money to be made in it... Maybe I missed something but why are we giving slack to people who park illegally and need to be towed... (I'm assuming the vacationing family is the exception?)

Sandy Castle

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

"Hieftje said the ordinance is complaint-driven, meaning a neighbor or someone else usually calls to complain before the city gets involved. Most of the time that system works well to keep abandoned vehicles off the street, he said, but other times it doesn't." Do they keep track of specifically who calls to complain? Could it be the tow companies trolling the neighborhoods who are calling to report cars so they can drum up business?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

I thought only the corrupt towing companies were in The City of Detroit? I wonder if Brewers Towing and Saksrupts towing owned by the same guy bid against each other when A2 accepted bids, I think that maybe a conflict of interest? I'd love to see his tally sheet and profits.

Fat Bill

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

What makes you think they are corrupt? Oh, wait, you are anonymous so you can make the accusation without fear of being sued for libel. Brewer's and Sakstrup's aren't corrupt, they are successful, and the owner has invested millions back into the businesses and the local economy.

Shi Schultz

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

The other 10 or so, major towing companies in Ann Arbor seem to be doing just fine without the help of city contracts. It's completely ridiculous for them to charge for an entire day's storage ($20). It should be prorated like most other company's would do. $20 / 24 hours = $0.83 per hour. Don't have the 8 hour grace period, but instead practice "good business" and be honest with people. If a car is impounded for 3.5 hours, the storage charge would be $2.91. What's the fastest way to go out of business? Have an entire city upset with your company.

Fat Bill

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

There are 10 major towing companies in Ann Arbor? Really? There are exactly 3 major towing companies in Ann Arbor, 4 if you choose to include Glen Ann, though most of their action is run from Budget's headquarters in Ypsilanti. Everybody else has one or two trucks available at most; many don't even work all night.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

Frankly, the law is absurd and companies are making money from people who are not doing anything wrong or are a detriment to the community. Change the law.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

Aside from the abandoned vehicle policy, all of the discussion revolves around the fees which are consequences. The only people who should be concerned are those that get towed. Let's make this simple. Don't park illegally. This is another case of AA wasting resources on an issue affecting a very small percentage of it's citizens.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

Hieftje said "It was designed to have better control over people who just leave their cars on the street," he said of the ordinance Control over People? Just leave cars on the street? Oh yeah, that's because all housing in Ann Arbor has two car garages and off street parking. Seriously, just the fact the "Mayor" wants more control over people makes me wonder... November coming up soon!

A A Resident

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:05 a.m.

State law defines abandonment as: "(b) A vehicle that has remained on public property for a period of not less than 48 hours,.." Holy smokes! Technically that means that I might drive my car all over the place, but unless I pull onto private property somewhere inside of 48 hours, it is abandoned! The more laws I read, the more I think the people who write them are unusually incompetent.

Middle America

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:41 a.m.

Aw your companies can't profit without help from the city? I hope they both fail and you end up homeless.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

Dennis Brewer provides a valuable service to our city, this is no charity job.

Middle America

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Yeah, because I dislike the fact that he is whining about the possibility of him having to run his business without government assistance means I am jealous of the guy. Nice reasoning, pal. The city would be better with real businesses and business owners who don't need a crutch to operate. Also, nice "not" joke. Your sense of humor is as top notch as your thought process.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:27 p.m. appear to be a voice of reason...not! I wonder what kind of business you run? Or maybe you are just upset because someone else is successful and you haven't cut the mustard yet. I am sure if you own a business, which I doubt, you operate it just for the heck of it and care not one bit about making money. Oh, and if you do make money, I am sure you have donated plenty of it to a multitude of community organizations for over 40 years. Ann Arbor would be a much better place with more Dennis Brewer's.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

I read because my son works in the city and I am thankful he takes a bus from where he lives in an adjacent city. Although it's a beautiful city, I am also thankful I don't live there after reading all these interesting comments. It actually would be quite comical to see all the residents playing musical parking spaces with their cars on a daily basis so they don't get the high fines that the tow "buddies" receive to line their pockets. Something needs to change and I feel for all of you.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

I agree wholeheartedly. My street has several cars that park on the street on a daily basis including one of ours. We all know each other and know each others vehicles and respective spots on the street in front of our houses. There is never broken down or truly abandoned cars parked anywhere ever. Yet at the same time, if there ever was a case of a car actually being left there that we didn't recognize, it would be taken care of. All that I can say is thank goodness I don't live in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Don't cry for me Argentina!!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

I'd be interested to know (and maybe can check this) if the policy of calling for a tow after 20 minutes still applies to cars stalled (mechanical breakdown) on city streets. That was the policy circa in the late seventies. An AAPD officer called for a tow for a car which (the recorded radio traffic proved) was only on the street for ~ 8 minutes. The next thing the owner know (he'd been inside a motel calling for a tow!), his car was disappearing in the direction of the "impoundment yard" and the cop car was zipping off in the opposite direction - leaving the driver/owner stranded with two 4-year-old girls he'd been car-pooling to their respective homes. The upshot was: when the car owner called AAPD, he was brusquely informed that there was a 20-min. grace period provided BUT this policy was never made public!! But the victim of the policy personally protested to an AAPD supervisor and the careless officer was reprimanded - and the impoundment fee was refunded. All unnecessary because of an unpublished "policy" which wasn't followed in the first place. Just like to know: is such a policy still in effect for Ann Arbor drivers? If so, there oughta be some changes made in the direction of fairness and sanity.

Silly Sally

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

The law should be changed to a ticket after 48 hours, and then towed after a week. Not towing after 48 hours. When a car is illegally parked, a ticket is good enough in most circumstances. Towing should be used only as a last resort, not the first response.

Floyd Griffey

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

I am always amused at the idiotic comments from this so highly educated community. democrats just don't understand how money works. If someone gets their vehicle towed charge them the cost of the towing & storage plus a profit for the county/city AND the tow company. If they got their vehicle towed ... they screwed the pooch, they should pay, period. Maybe we should buy child abusers condoms, poor abusers it wasn't their fault, those homeless bums living by I94, lets buy a couple years rent for them, where's Sheriff Harvey when we need him????

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Griffey...Your letter is case in point in regard to idiotic comments. Apparently your pride at not being one of the highly educated community members is spot on.

Middle America

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:49 a.m.

You are so much smarter than everyone who comments on here, right? Everyone else must be Democrats! Solid logic, man. Buy condoms for child abusers? What are you even rambling about? You sound delusional.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

The definition of abandoned vehicle is in the state motor vehicle code, 257.252a. It applies to the whole state. (2) As used in this section and sections 252a through 252l, "abandoned vehicle" means either of the following: (a) A vehicle that has remained on private property without the consent of the owner. (b) A vehicle that has remained on public property for a period of not less than 48 hours, or on a state trunk line highway as described in section 1 of 1951 PA 51, MCL 247.651, as follows: (i) If a valid registration plate is affixed to the vehicle, for a period of not less than 18 hours. (ii) If a valid registration plate is not affixed to the vehicle.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

I am clearly amazed at the track these comments have taken. The ordinance on the books requires someone to complain and the city to track the time frame. The city then calls to have the car towed. How this morphed into a search and tow issue is crazy. Sorry to say it would appear that Mr. Ramsinghani has a neighbor(s) that do not like him. Also, I am concerned with the comments of the mayor. To slam a reputable, long time, community minded businessman like he did is offensive. How this guy keeps on getting elected is beyond me. Every businessman/woman in town ought to be banding together to search for someone to run against him. It is a shame that a long time family owned business is getting slammed for being successful. Sorry folks, but that is what business is all about. Not aware of anybody that goes into business to fail. You may not like the line of work but someone will do it. Dennis Brewer over time has shown that he is a savvy businessman as well as community minded. The Brewer's have supported the community in ways, which most, if not all of you that are slamming him will never do.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

As much as I hate to say it...did you forget the mayou works for THE PEOPLE, not businesses!!!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

Complaint driven? Who complained about Mr. Ramsinghani's car on the street before it was towed and he was charged $825 to get it back? Sorry, Hieftje, the constant speaking from the side of your neck has become dulling. If neighbors of Mr Ramsinghani's see him on a constant basis and notice what type of car he drives, then how is it abandoned just because he doesn't move it for two days? What if he decided that he wanted to become "green" and begin to take the bus for a couple of days out of the week, does his car still gets towed? If I where Mr. Ramsinghani I'd request a copy of the police report and have the city prove to me who complained and what steps were taken from that point. I'd then sue my neighbor for the tow fees for causing harm when said neighbor should just keep to his own business. What ever happen to a vehicle having proper tags on it and can stay on the street as long as whenever? As for Mr you want cheese with your wine? Lay off employees. No bonus to give. Problem solved.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:15 a.m.

They'd lived in the neighborhood for 5 weeks before this happened, and they are subletting. I don't know how you can jump to the idea that Mr Ramsinghani's neighbors had seen him on a constant basis.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Mr. Brewer: Walk away from the contract the make an honest living. Let free enterprise drive the cost of tow and storage fees.

James Hamilton

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

When a company has a MONOPOLY its charges to the city should be analyzed closely. We are not dealing with a struggling industry. If Brewer's pays $37,000 a month for fuel, imagine what they take in from towing each month. Will Brewer's open their books. I also find it hard to justify a $20 a day for parking. How do they justify $20 a day parking? Again,the city and should investigate the actual costs of towing when they grant a MONOPOLY. How many towing companies in Ann Arbor, who are not related to Brewer's Towing, bid on this contract? Are the citizens of Ann Arbor making Brewer's Towing rich at our expense?


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:27 a.m.

Dennis Brewer does NOT have a monopoly on the towing in Ann Arbor. There is a third company that is in NO WAY related to him that also holds a police contract. Triangle Towing charges exactly the same fees as both Brewers and Sakstrups. As a matter of fact, its the same in all of Washtenaw Co. For some reason, this was left out of both of Ryan Stanton's articles, along with numerous other things.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Well it sounds like it is a bid process, so doesn't that mean Brewer was the low bid for this service to the city?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Fat Bill, 2 of those companies are owned by Dennis Brewer.

Fat Bill

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

Three companies provide police towing in ann


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

James, to answer your last sentence: Yes.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

Brewsters is losing $??? NO! A local tow at $120? I can get a tow up to 50 miles for that price! No provisions for fuel increases? Im actually with the mayor on this one... offer them a fixed price contract...take it or leave it!!! The current contract IS a racket - $60 to the police just to get the info where your car is, ticket for the violation ($25-150), and another $120 for a local tow...COME ON!!!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

Chris, an owner requested tow is cheaper but also different. A wrecker driver has the keys to move the car to a desirable position and can pick it up by the drive wheels eliminating the tedious dolly.

Fat Bill

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

Anybody towing a car 50 miles for $120 is operating illegally or on borrowed time.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

Ok time for a fact check on Dennis Brewer. His drivers cannot "prowl" neighborhoods, they must have authorization to tow a car from the property owner or city. I impound illegally parked cars from our business property regularily but I MUST sign an authoriztion each time. Construction workers nearby park their vehicles there and when they see the tow truck they run out to move it. Dennis and the tow truck driver make zero on this transaction even though considerable fuel and effort have been expended. Yes like most other successful businesses he pays for performance. IE commission. Towing is not a pleasant but yet neccessary business. These are the folks that also clear accident scenes and get our cars to repair facilities in the worst of weather. Dennis runs a first rate business, his drivers are for the most part the best in the industry. And while Dennis has been very successful, do not for a second think he walks around in Armani suits, in fact to see him you would probably think he is just another tow truck driver because he is usually working on something around the yard. Perhaps Dennis is getting too much compensation from the city. The RFP response will prove this out. I do know one thing, Ann Arbor needs a professional towing company like Brewer's.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

wow, a fact based comment! I weep in joy.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

Now lets get real...any smart business man builds down time and "other" expenses into his one works for free!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

The last AA towers I had the displeasure of dealing with just took my car after I got out of the hospital. By then I could not come up with the cash(only) to pay for the tow and storage charges (which were NOT $20 a day). They were magnanimous and offered to steal my car instead to cancel the debt. In fairness it was not Brewers. SOP around here if you're in indefensible circumstances.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

So many complaints about CONSEQUENCES!!! The fees are stiff because my lovely town is filled with a bunch of VIP's that would leave the junk in their trunk parked wherever they damn well pleased if not for CONSEQUENCES!!! That said, and politics aside, Brewer's has very courteous drivers that have been helpful and gracious whenever I have used their services. Helpful to the point of saving me a trip to the mechanic on occasion.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

So a car is considered abandoned if it is parked on a city street for 48 hours. Too bad the same doesn't seem to apply to parking structures. I parked in the 4th and Willliam structure for many years and there were always several cars that had clearly not been moved in weeks if not months. Considering how busy the structures are and the consequent lost revenue, I always wondered why the parking company wasn't more diligent about the problem.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

They finally started cracking down on that this year and now tow if they see a car hasn't moved in 72 hours, which is the rule in the structures.

A A Resident

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

"The PROOF a car has not been abandonned is that it is properly plated and registered, parked legally, AND the owner retrieves it from the car-nappers. Ipso facto, the car was never abandonned, or ransom would not have been paid." _____________________ Exactly! And all charges, along with compensation for their time and inconvenience should be refunded to the vehicle owner. And if the city and Brewers ever tows one of my cars on the false premise that it has been abandoned, they will face a stiff and costly court challenge which I would fully expect to win.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Ipso Facto? Really? lol


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

I just love our PRO-BUSINESS Mayor: ""I'm not really concerned about the towing companies. Any company that doesn't want to work with the city or county doesn't have to," Hieftje said on Monday." I think this applies to all businesses not just towing!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

Remember...he works for YOU, not the likes of private business...that would be a conflict of interest!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

Some tow companies in Ann Arbor do not impound. I would highly recommend using them

Fat Bill

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Better make sure you call during the business day. Companies who do not have public safety contracts have little incentive to offer 24 hour service in this area.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

Do we want abandonned clunkers cluttering up the streets of A2? Clearly, not. And that's what such an ordinance should be designed to remedy. However, using the ordinance in the way the city has been, as evidenced by the story yesterday, is clearly a "legal" method of shaking down citizens by car-napping and extorting ransom for it's return. The PROOF a car has not been abandonned is that it is properly plated and registered, parked legally, AND the owner retrieves it from the car-nappers. Ipso facto, the car was never abandonned, or ransom would not have been paid. I'd love for to find out the figures on the number of "abandonned" cars that are subsequently ransomed out of captivity by owners. An abandonned car - which is supposedly what this ordinance seeks to deal with, would be one never claimed. I have a feeling there are not too many of the latter. Return Mr. Ramsinghani's money with apologies, Council!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Anyone what to bet on whether Mr Brewers car or any of the councils members or Mayors have ever been towed? My guess if the council or mayor were subjected to the same problems everyone else is subjected to the policy would change. What was the line from Animal farm? All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

l j hankamp

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

I have know Denny Brewer (very very casually) since 1973 and believe him to be a very good employer and honest businessman (not trolling for tows, only responding to requests from those he has contracted with). While I may be jealous of his income, he has been above board on all financial dealings that I was ever involved in with him. If there is an issue here it would seem to me to be with the city in their acceptance of the contract without possible review of his potential similar contracts for tow/storage that might be in place with the county, state, AAA, or other road service organizations. Furthermore it would not take much investigative work to determine what other tow facilities/yards charge for comprable events such as vehicles abandoned prior to repair, after accidents, etc.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Maybe the tow truck owner should protest and refuse to tow all of the cars he has snached off the streets.

Middle America

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:51 a.m.

He doesn't just snatch them off the street. He also tows them from private apartment complex parking lots and charges well over $200 to get them back.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Does anyone know if there is a specific reason why it's 48 hours after which a car is considered "abandoned"? Is there some study or something that shows 48 hours is the magic number? or is it simply arbitrary? seems like a short time to me...I often let my car sit for more than 2 my driveway of course...wouldn't want to be towed...


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

I've seen several cases of cars sitting on the side of the freeway, orange tagged already by police and still sitting for days. I guess Ann Arbor is a little more uptight than the rest of the world.

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

Seems like the time limit should be extended for residential areas.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

I obviously don't know the rules. Please help me understand. In AA you can only park a vehicle on a PUBLIC street for 23 hours and 59 minutes and then someone can call and have you towed? If so, then how can you believe the caller unless then at 23hrs you have the tires marked. Thereby giving the car another 48 hours? Who says that old woman who calls weekly is telling the truth?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Mayor John Hieftje said if certain companies don't think the new contract terms make economic sense for their businesses, they don't have to respond to the RFP and bid on the work. One of the very few times I agree whole heartily with the Mayor! That come off the tongue hard.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

Toooo Bad! Want out of your contract? I don't think it would be hard to replace this cry baby!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

He can make up revenue by coming over to Fieldcrest st and tow all the cars that park on the sidewalks or come at 2am and tow the cars that are blocking the street.

An Arborigine

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Poor Denny may have to dip into savings for that third home, new boat and 'round the world getaway. Brakes getting put on the Bilking Train?

Amanda Zee

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

When my husband and I rented a home on Seventh St two years ago, we had only one parking spot but owned two cars. So we parked the second car around the corner on Potter. We had one awful old woman who lived next door who had nothing better to do than call on our car every two days (say, over the weekend when we didn't have to go to work). So we would go out and move the car a spot or two down the street. It was a pain in the arse, and a waste of city worker's time who had to come out and chalk the tires every time she called. When we called to explain our situation, they told us there was nothing they could do about it. If they got a call, they had to come and inspect it. So what is the difference if it sat in the same spot for two days or one spot for one day, and next spot up the second day? What a waste. This law needs to be revised to prevent what it was originally intended to do, but not get abused the way it is so frequently.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

@ Billy - Your mom ever heard of knocking on someones door first, then call it it happens again...thats just being considerate dont ya think???


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Mr Brewer also was instrumental in asking city council to stop plowing the roads during ice storms. The people ending up in ditches and accidents make up a large piece of revenue for Brewers/Sakstrups and I think it only fair that they get a bonus due to their MONOPOLY. By the way, maybe Mr and Mrs Brewer should let us know how much they paid to buy out Sakstrups and own the monopoly here in town and maybe we should look into the value of their two homes in Ann Arbor Township worth over a million $


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Dennis asked the council not to plow and they complied? That defies reason.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

Do you honestly think that Dennis Brewer convinced the City Council to stop plowing/salting the roads so he could reap the benefits? And could you produce proof of this conspiracy theory?? I highly doubt that you could. Out of the countless ignorant comments submitted on this topic, yours stands out for its sheer stupidity. Please enlighten us as to how you came by this fascinating bit of information?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Please document that allegation. How do you know he asked city council to stop plowing the roads?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

I'm sure it's good for any company's bottom line to charge for services that are not requested by the customer and not actually provided. Pretty amazing that Jane Lumm expects us to feel sorry for them.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

I supported Ms. Lumm and voted for her. Having Mr. Brewer, in this context, being spoken of as a "good friend" disturbs me a little, but I'll wait and watch.

Middle America

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:54 a.m.

Looks like all of the commenters on who claimed Jane Lumm was different and great for the city since she wasn't a dreaded Democrat were wrong. Maybe people in this city will start to realize that there is no difference between political parties and hopefully it will spread further to the national level. All politicians are the same. Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same. Stop whining and open your eyes.

Fat Bill

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Not actually provided? The fenced in cameras...and 24 hour access must be figments of my imagination...


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

I find it interesting the Ms Lumm was sold to the voters as a reformer. Seems like she is now a member of the establishment.

Robert Jenkins

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Ann Arbor is run like a big city which it isn't. If you don't like it, I suggest moving to one of the smaller surrounding towns such as Saline, Dexter or Chelsea. Much quieter, nicer and friendlier all around and fewer idiotic beaurocrats getting in your personal business. I've lived in Washtenaw County for 48 years so I have a pretty good perception.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

Um...I think Ann Arbor is the 5th largest city in the state...

John Hritz

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

It's not really free storage. Charging 24 hours storage instead of prorating has been an on-going abuse. When it comes to towing of illegally parked cars, it's not really a business. The ersatz customer doesn't request the service they have it inflicted on them. This city requests it and the towed party pays. As a result there are no market forces that make sure that payments are reasonable. There will be some that will suggest that they shouldn't have parked there and they'd be right. The problem is when part of the punishment comes from a private party who is unelected and not directly accountable.

Stan Hyne

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4:22 a.m.

And the city gets a cut and the county gets a cut and .......


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

The bid process is where market forces come into play. Feel free to start your own company and submit a bid.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

Dennis Brewer is a businessman. Of course he's opposed to the City Council reducing the income his company produces. What did everyone expect him to do, jump up and cheer the Council's decision?

bob carmichael

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

We expect him to be a little less of a sour puss about the price being corrected to an appropriate market value.

Robert Jenkins

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

The towing companies in Ann Arbor have been extortionists for years. No sympathy here. A bunch of crooks.

Stan Hyne

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

A couple of years ago my wife had a accident and the car got towed. The dome lights were left on and I was not allowed to go in and turn them off. The people at the tow yard were most uncooperative. Hostile would cover it. If a car of mine is ever disabled I will do everything in my power to have it towed to somewhere else like my driveway.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

The $20 first night "storage fee" (aka, we've taken your car hostage) is getting way too much attention. The real problem is that the definition of abandoned car has lost all meaning. As a result, injustices like the one Mr. Ramsinghani faced are common.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Can anyone tell me why towing companies demand cash for your car back? Is there a valid reason, or is it just a way to ensure they can keep your car longer and thus make more money?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

To say nothing of what a "cash advance" can cost the cardholder.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

Credit card companies charge anywhere from 1.5%-3.5% of the value of each transaction to the business, which is one big reason why the towing companies discourage credit and encourage cash. That fee adds up quickly.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:54 a.m.

Simple answer: It is far easier for cash to "disappear"


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:40 a.m.

It has nothing to do with how long the vehicle is retained. It has everything to do with getting paid and not having to chase for payment or encourage fraudulent behavior. If someone can't afford to pay cash why should their credit card be considered acceptable? Most credit cards offer cash advance options.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Shouldn't have cheaped out on that campaign contribution Denny.

Jim Walker

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

Since the $20/day "storage" fees are about double the fees for parking in the for-profit commercial lots at Metropolitan Airport, sympathy is not appropriate here. Enough people will get clipped for multiple days of storage at confiscatory $20/day level, it should easily cover the "losses" for those people who get to the lot within 7 hours and 59 minutes and only have to pay Brewers for the $120 tow. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Then let everyone park their cars at Metro instead of leaving them on city streets! This is really not as hard as people are making it. STOP PARKING IN VIOLATION OF CITY ORDINANCES. If you don't like the situation get the city to change the ordinance.

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Last time I paid out of pocket for a tow in Ann Arbor, it was $45 from Budget Towing. I don't know what AAA is paying, but I suspect it is closer to $45 than $120. Imagine if people were arrested and then made to pay for their incarceration for an hour, and the jailer was a private company, paying the county for the license to arrest and jail people. Should we be surprised if half our town was locked up? Chase Ingersoll


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

Chase AAA pays closer to half of $45. Then again you have the keys to give to the tow truck driver so he does not have to dolly the car and can position it so the tow is less difficult.

Brian Kuehn

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

The towing of cars parked in one spot for longer than 48 hours is complaint driven. Does the City/County record who makes the complaints? Would it be possible for a tow truck driver to note certain cars being parked for extended periods and call in the complaint themselves? I find it hard to imagine homeowners complaining about a late model car being parked on the street. Some of the reported towing situations seem a bit odd. We plan to ask my ward's council members to consider the inclusion of a provision to track who complains and possibly verify the complaint through telephone numbers.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

"Also, I'm not comfortable with the bias toward late-model cars. I drove a heap for years and had no garage or driveway. " Amen! Just because some of us don't like car payments, should our cars be deemed more towable than others? Most of my cars have never been heaps but they've mostly been 10-15 years old with over 100,000 miles, but clean and well maintained. Now, something sitting in the street, tires gone flat, leaking fluids all over, or up on jack stands is another story.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Complaint-driven enforcement (shoveling, trash, etc) is a fact of life in a town this size, but calling on a neighbor who's just out of town is a bummer. Also, I'm not comfortable with the bias toward late-model cars. I drove a heap for years and had no garage or driveway. Still: Street parking is temporary. Anyone leaving town for a week or two needs to arrange to park off street, or store their car.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

I don't wish the Brewers ill, nor anyone else with a city contract. Brewer can decide whether to bid on the contract or let someone else take the "unprofitable" work. The city, county and towing fees for impoundment seem way above the actual costs. Charging 2-3x the 24-hour rate of a covered, manned downtown parking structure, to padlock a car in a junkyard on the outskirts of town is just one example of the extortion that has been going on. Change, like the one-stop for retrieving one's car has been a LONG time coming. Here's hoping companies will bid for a piece of the action, and the winner will make an honest fee for the service. How about another cost saver/anxiety reducer: Denver boots! The city gets all the money if the owner settles up quickly. Most tows wouldn't have to take place; Brewer's lament about the grace period is a clear indication that many of these matters are settled very quickly. Boot the car instead!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

The County dictates maximum fees allowed in its bid request. Booting cars that have been deemed abandoned would be a rather futile (not to mention illogical) gesture.

simply amazed

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

..."tow truck drivers are paid on commission". That explains A LOT!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

Commission is "pay for performance." Tow truck drivers are out on the road with no direct supervision. If you want quick efficient service that is how you compensate a driver. Bob is right the AAA service calls do not get the best service and you know why? They dictate a very low price and receive a commensurate level of service. Kind of like the "oats" principle. Do you want to pay to fresh oats or those that have been through the horse?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Oh NO @Bob had to wait an entire HOUR?!? Say it isn't so! Maybe Brewer's didn't get the memo that someone as important as yourself would be having car problems that day. Could it be that there were others in town that also needed help, and you needed to wait your turn? Or is that a concept that doesn't occur to someone with your sense of entitlement? Get over yourself & come to grips with the fact that you aren't the center of the universe.

bob carmichael

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Furthermore, I've had this misfortune of dealing with Brewers for a AAA call and trust me, NOBODY was in a hurry. 1 hr to come to downtown Ann Arbor from Plymouth Rd? People who work on commission move a little faster than that...


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

You miss the point. The commission angle gives the drivers a financial incentive to "troll" for abandoned cars.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

or to come unlocked someones car w/a child in the back seat in 90 degree weather


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:07 a.m.

Not to mention they are on call a lot. Nothing like sitting in a nice warm house in the dead of Winter at 3am to be called to pull someone out of a snow bank.

Fat Bill

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

A competent operator working for an established company can make a decent middle-class wage. It is a far cry from a desk job, the danger and extreme working conditions justify the money.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Mr. Brewer should hire (if he can find him ) Mr. Neil Berlin to negotiate for him. Mr. Berlin is extremely proficient in contract negotiations. Ask the city.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

I suspect that 98% of the comments voiced on this and previous threads could be addressed by one simple change: Anyone calling in (or otherwise communicating with the city) a comment that a car appears to be abandoned must leave their name and phone number. The city must keep records of such and periodically review the list to see if any individuals are calling in excessive amounts of reports (3 / month?) and reject an additional calls.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:48 a.m.

as we learned from the other article, the car doesn't actually have to be there for over 48 hours. The caller simply has to claim that it has been there for more than 48 hours, and voila, the car is instantly transformed into an "abandoned car." The list of calls (who, what, where, when) to report abandoned cars should be a matter of public record.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:31 a.m.

So, a car left in one location for 49 hours is in violation of city ordinances. I'm not alleging that anyone is doing this, but one could imagine the following: I'm a towtruck driver and business is slow. I drive through a neighborhood, anonymously calling in random cars that look promising. The city is forced to mark each and every one of them. Some subset will not be moved. 48 hours later, there are suddenly a lot of calls for my service.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

As long as all the calls are about vehicles legitimately in violation of parking ordinances there should be no limit on the number of calls. No sympathy for those who feel they're entitled to willfully violate city ordinances.

Robert Katz

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

There should be NOBODY going around the city looking for cars to tow. If the police ticket a car and then want it towed, they should contact the towing company. If some other city department has authority to tow cars then they should contact a towing company on a case by case basis. In no case should a car be towed when it is parked properly and does not appear to be abandoned. When it is registered to a nearby homeowner it is never abandoned and in most other cases that is true as well. This is not an area where we typically see stripped cars in the street.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

@treetowncartel yes towing companies do tow from private lots @ THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTIES REQUEST MEANING NOT AT WILL there has to be a signed contract with the company & the property owner


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

@ Fat Bill, they do yank em from private lots at will, not sure what kind of authority they have with the city.

Fat Bill

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

Tow truck drivers DO NOT unilaterally remove cars off of city streets. Impounds from the street are always initiated by the police...including community standards officers.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

I disagree with your second statement. Street parking is temporary. Even a nice, not-stripped car left for weeks, or overwinter, at the curb is unfair to the neighbors. Parking should change up, plows and sweepers should get through once in a while, etc. There is a solution between towing at the first complaint and leaving vehicles for weeks on the street.

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Regardless of this topic, it's refreshing to see a member of Council respond to emails. Those of us in the 4th Ward don't have that luxury.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

He said that this would impact annually rewarding his employees? So for every car that gets impounded, it contributes to the Brewers Christmas Fund, or the Sakstrups Christmas Bonus? Wow...just wow.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Of course he's concerned, it's not like he makes any money from customer referrals. I'd avoid Brewers at all costs. This proves that his company financially relies on towing requests from the city, and when those aren't enough they resort to predatory towing practices.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Sorry, Denny, it sounds like you need to pay more than $100 for a vote on City Council. You did get an email relayed, so it wasn't money completely wasted.

Basic Bob

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

It would be nice to know how many cars are retrieved within 8 hours. For cash of course.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Where are all the pro business, anti gubmint regulation commenters?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 10:16 a.m.

What does your comment have to do with this story?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

There is a lot of debatable topics on, but I think everyone agrees about the towing monopoly of A2. I do hope, in the future, that Ypsilanti takes up the same topic, with their towing empire (company).


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

So who is the towing empire in Ypsi?

Ann English

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

The story and comments remind me of an old news story in Ann Arbor about a couple finding out the hard way that an automobile they wanted to sell could not be parked in the street, next to the curb. I take it that it's still illegal today to park a car for sale on the street, that it must be off the road.

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

"Dennis Brewer, who owns both Brewer's Towing and Sakstrup's Towing, made that argument in an email to city officials before the City Council voted on the contract last week." Has Brewer contributed to any current member of Council besides Ms. Lumm? Has anyone doing business with the City contributed to any current Council member? Since you got the ball rolling, you might want to look into no bid contracts with the City over the past few years and if anyone benefiting financially has donated campaign dollars and if any member of Council has recused themselves from votes as a result. Your investigative reporting here is light of this Ms. Lumm not being the Mayor's BFF...and would applaud continuing this path reviewing others on Council.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

AHMEN! The contribution part of the story was indeed curious. One might surmise that it may have been an effort to upset those politically opposed to Ms. Lumm, in other words most of our current city officials. If $100 buys you a city contract, then our council indeed comes cheap!

John of Saline

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Yeah, my sympathy isn't too high here. Don't like the terms, don't sign the new contract.

Fat Bill

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Easy to say when you don't have your money tied up in equipment, facilities, and overhead based on the model that has been in operation for years. Pretty simplistic approach for a sophisticate from Saline.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Well Booohoooo, he's got what amounts to a Monopoly in in this town. And how many years has he been on this gravy train? Give someone a break if they get there quickly.

Michigan Reader

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

I agree, but I think it would be more fair if the first 8 hours are a grace period, but at the start of the 9th hour, the contracted towing company should be able to charge from the get go. Either that, or pro-rate the time in storage in 15 minute increments.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Could not agree more! Whaaaa Whaaaa