Detroit scraps deal with all 21 towing companies

- Nearly two dozen tow truck companies will no longer be allowed to work for Detroit police.

The towing companies and the board of police commissioners were both caught off-guard.

"We want to re-bid this in a proper way through the city's procurement department," said Charles Raimi, deputy corporation counsel.

So what went wrong?  The city scrapped all 21 towing companies' contracts with the police department. Contracts the board of police commissioners approved just last year.

"I am a bit confused by what appears to be the accusation by the city's law department that we were not in compliance with the towing situation and the towing contracts," said Bishop Edgar Vann, member of the board of commissioners.

Another member of the board, Willie Bell was asked if this move means the bidding process is going to change.

"I can't say," he said. "I can't really say. We want to have that type of dialogue with corporation counsel and the police department."

According to the city of Detroit's lead attorney Melvin Butch Hollowell, the decision to undo the towing agreements and is all about legality--or more fittingly, in this case, the lack thereof.

"Under the city charter and state law, the board of police commissioners did not have the legal authority to select tow companies or award any sort of a permit or contract to them," Raimi said.

Owners and employees of tow truck companies packed Thursday night's Board of Police Commissioners meeting. Their concern is coupled with confusion.

FOX 2 spoke with Joan Fiore, embattled towing boss Gasper Fiore's ex-wife who talked about the battle of the two legal teams.

"You have a board of police counsel arguing with corporation counsel and we're supposed to understand what's going on," she said.

The tow truck shakeup follows a deputy police chief's resignation after DPD learned she was being investigated for ties to towing magnate Gasper Fiore. He was indicted on federal bribery charges in a widespread corruption probe in Macomb County.

The city says the towing contracts will be put back out for bidding, but as of now it's unclear how long that will take.

In the meantime Detroit police can use the towing contractors on its list with the exception of any company owned by Gasper Fiore.

The board plans to meet with the city's legal team to see where things go from here.

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