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Towing policy under review

Nichols said Roman's story is typical.

As Nichols told members of the press about his proposed legislation to put a stop to the towing, several tenants made their way out of their apartments to listen. One man had two copies of towing receipts from Joe's that totaled more than $400. A younger man next to him was leaving the complex and said he didn't want to tell his towing-horror stories for fear he may lose his security deposit. Another tenant said her children's cars had been towed. None of them had seen the photos of their violations.

If there is a problem, Lake Shore officials said they haven't heard anything to alert them to one.

"If they are getting towed every day, then they are not coming to me," said Joseph Gordon, a leasing agent at Lake Shore. "There are (parking) rules in the lease. The pictures are taken by the towing company, and they reflect just why the vehicles are towed."

Tenants of Lake Shore sign a two-page motor vehicle parking regulation agreement as part of their leases. The document lists several instances in which vehicles can be towed.

The problem arises when tow truck drivers " not apartment staff " are left as the sole enforcers of the regulations, said Nichols, adding that under the tow agreement with the complex, the towing company has essentially become the judge, jury and executioner.

"They are operating under the cover of night and acting like thieves and in a shameful way, and doing it every single night. Why anyone would treat their own tenants that way, I don't know, unless there was a profit motive," said Nichols.

That profit motive, Nichols said, would be a prearranged "kickback" between the owners of parking lots and towing companies.

Lake Shore Park officials denied such activity was taking place.

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