NIU student pickets, claims wrongful towing

By Dave Heaton

An NIU graduate student is picketing a towing company because he said it wrongfully towed his car.

NIU graduate student David Munday is picketing A to Z towing, 1440 Pleasant St., because of an incident that occurred Saturday, March 28. Munday has been picketing A to Z all week.

Munday said early that Saturday morning he had his car towed from his apartment parking lot at Bromley Companys Apartments, 912 Edgebrook Drive.

Munday said when he telephoned A to Z, they confirmed that they had towed his car because there was no valid parking permit displayed. Munday said he owned two automobiles, so his landlord had issued him a transferrable parking permit.

“I had hung the permit from the rearview mirror,” Munday said, “but the window was opened slightly so it may have been stolen.”

Munday said that the car was a gold 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood, and he’d been parking there for about two years. Munday added that the representative at A to Z admitted that he’d seen the car there before.

Munday said that his landlord had spoken with A to Z to verify that Munday is a resident of Bromley Apartments, and his car did belong in the parking lot. They (A to Z) would not reimburse Munday the $50 he paid to retrieve his car, Munday said.

“I draw the conclusion,” Munday said, “that these people have no intention of providing a service. They are only interested in making a buck.”

Susan Cassens, manager of Bromley Apartments, said that they have a contract with A to Z and the drivers patrol the parking lot on a regular basis, towing cars that don’t belong there. Cassens said Munday had a sticker which she allowed him to transfer between his Cadillac and his MG, both highly recognizable cars. A to Z towed the Cadillac, and at one point and time, she said, the sticker was removed.

Cassens said there have been instances, in the past, where mistakes have been made. “There was an instance,” Cassens said, “when because of a miscommunication, the same car was towed twice.” Cassens said Bromley Apartments paid $80 to the resident. Cassens said, “The contract gives A to Z authority to patrol the lot. It does state they will not be held responsible for mistakes.”

Dan Mataragas, owner of A to Z Towing, said, “We patrol lots and we check every car, the ones without a valid permit displayed we tow.” Mataragas said he had seen Munday’s Cadillac parked there before, but there was no valid parking sticker visible so, it was towed.

Mataragas said even if someone proves their car belonged in the lot, the company will not reimburse them. “We pay our drivers to do the work,” Mataragas said. “It’s not our problem if they don’t display their permit.” Mataragas added that if a valid sticker is displayed, yet somehow overlooked, then A to Z will not charge the owner.

Kay Berkshire, manager of College Square Apartments, 808 Ridge, said there had been a couple of instances when cars were mistakenly towed by A to Z, but no permanent damage had ever been sustained by cars towed out of the College Square lot.

Robbie Arrington, manager of James Court Apartments, said “In three years, I never had to pay a resident for a car being wrongfully towed.” Arrington said landlords try to market their property and A to Z’s patrolling of the James Court lot, near Amnesia’s, has drastically reduced the vandalism the property has sustained.