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City Of Sugar Land Sued By Former Tow Truck Operators

Fired tow truck operators sue Sugar Land officials over preferential treatment

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The tow truck operators stood with attorneys in front of Sugar Land City Hall.

lawsuit announcement
Pictured left to right: Attorneys Omar Khawaja and Lance Irwin, client John Elias and former tow truck operators. Their contracts with Sugar Land were not renewed

They announced a lawsuit — filed against the police chief, police supervisor and a handful of city officials — for what they believe are violations of state requirements in the bidding process related to non-consent tows.

Leland Irwin represents John Elias of Collision Clinic, one of the defendants.

“His company has been under contract with the city of Sugar Land to provide non-consent tows for a long time,” says Irwin. “And the first part of this year, without any notice of complaints or other problems, a small handful of individuals at the city of Sugar Land Police Department, decided that they were going to terminate all of the wrecker company tow contracts, of which there were approximately 11, and they were going to start the process over.”

And limit the number of wrecker companies to five instead of the eleven they originally had.

Irwin says the suit alleges that the new operators got preferential treatment from the city on their applications.

“Mr. Elias unfortunately, was one of those that never got contacted about any problems with his application,” says Irwin. “Based on information that we’ve been able to obtain over the last couple of months, it’s clear that at least one — if not more of the successful applicants — were provided special assistance with their contracts.”

Irwin says it’s apparent that there are relationships between the new tow truck operators and what he calls the “decision makers in the Sugar Land Police Department.”

Co-counsel Omar Khawaja says the system now in place, lacks checks and balances.

“You have a process, whereby there’s either an ordinance, or an official city vote that ratifies the contract,” says Khawaja. “So that gives, essentially elected officials who represent the people of the city in that locality, a say in how this process is done. And that’s what we want, that’s all we’re asking for.”

Sugar Land officials declined comment on tape, but in a statement sent via email, denied allegations in the lawsuit. They said the number of contracts were reduced to ensure proper documentation by operators under contract with the city.

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