Throughout the history of Lincoln Towing Service, in sixty years time – it has found itself again and again at the center of lawsuits, hellish consumer stories, and even political pressure.
According to the Chicago Tribune, after years and years of controversy, the largest relocation towing service in Illinois may have their state license taken away.
Attorneys for the Illinois Commerce Commission cited a “pattern and practice of unauthorized towing,” resting their case on Wednesday. The two-year investigation quotes numerous citations for allegedly, illegally hauling away cars.
During the hearings, the ICC called four of its investigators as witnesses which began in May. A final ruling likely is still months away.
The firm dubbed the “Lincoln Park Pirates” in a song by local folk singer Steve Goodman in the 1970s is in the thick of it, to say the least – despite having the chance at mounting a defense, which includes calling its own witnesses.
“They want to take our license away,” a Chicago attorney representing Lincoln Towing, Allen Perl, said at the ICC hearing. “What did we do wrong?”
Launched in February 2016, the investigation is the first time state regulators have challenged Lincoln’s ability to hold a towing license, Marianne Manko, ICC spokeswoman said.
Between July 2015 and March 2016, the ICC police department issued 180 citations to Lincoln in the eight-month period under investigation, with alleged violations including improper signage to relocating authorized vehicles.
After Lincoln issued refunds, most citations were dismissed.
As of last May, the firm was found liable for 27 of the citations.
In July 2015, Lincoln was issued a two-year license renewal seven months before the ICC initiated its investigation. In July of last year, Lincoln applied for another two-year renewal but it remains on hold and the firm continues to operate on its previous license, pending in the fitness hearing.
Lincoln towed 9,470 vehicles during the eight months under investigation, Perl said at the hearing on Wednesday.
In that context, he also defended the number of citations as small.
Lincoln Towing was founded by Ross Cascio and quickly became popular for its, allegedly, ruthless tactics.
From 1960 to 1981, Cascio was the owner of the firm until he passed in 1987 – the firm’s legacy living on. Surprisingly, its track record has not improved, despite the investigation – with Lincoln being issued 181 citations just last year, the ICC said.
Next month, Perl plans to call Robert Munyon, Lincoln General Manager, to testify. He may also call Chris Dennis, the firm’s current owner. After Lincoln rests its case, an ICC administrative law judge will issue a proposed order.
It would then proceed to the five ICC commissioners for a final vote.
Lincoln has recourse to challenge the ICC’s final order in circuit court.