Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tow to Nowhere

Patrick Lakamp of The Buffalo News used public records to reveal that Buffalo residents are being charged towing fees even when their cars aren't towed. For his "Towing-Fee Abuse" special report Sunday, Lakamp did a computer analysis of more than 38,000 parking tickets to discover that a police officer was assessing $40 towing charges on 80 percent of the parking tickets he wrote for illegally parked cars. Lakamp then went out in the neighborhoods to learn that none of these 242 ticketed cars was actually towed, although many drivers paid the fines because they didn't want the hassle of appealing them or didn't realize they could. "Towing-Fee Abuse" is already getting results. In today's follow-up story, Lakamp and Brian Meyer report that the Erie County district attorney and Buffalo police are launching investigations into the phantom towing.


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