Detroit activists say towing company uses predatory practices and racism
DETROIT (WJBK) - A protest is planned against a Detroit towing company accused of predatory practices and racism.
But the towing company says it’s a big misunderstanding. Goch and Sons towing company is so concerned with what was going to be said at Thursday's press conference - they sent a manager to hear it for himself.
"We are appalled is that not right," said Rev. David Bullock.
Bullock was flanked by members of his Change Agent Consortium at his church in Highland Park - taking on one of Detroit's largest towing companies.
His group alleges the owners allow a racist culture, saying the public relations director used the n-word on his public Facebook page.
"Jamie McFarland, the PR director, should not be using the n-word to talk about anybody specifically if he is doing business in the city of Detroit that is 82 percent black," Bullock said.
Bullock described what he claims is predatory business practices.
"Goch and Sons has a reputation of setting people up at the Medical Court Apartments," Bullock said. "They have spotters in the parking lot; the30 minute grace period is not honored. The spotter calls the wrecker (and) cars are towed in 5 to 7 minutes. I know because it has happened to me and happened to other folks in the city of Detroit.
Bullock provided nearly 100 pictures of what he believes is a racket - people who parked at Medical Court Apartments near the Detroit Medical Center - and had their cars towed within minutes - including himself, the elderly, disabled and families who come out and their cars are gone.
"I got on the phone and said what is going on why do you have a spotter in the back, why are you preying on the poor and basically they hung up on me," Bullock said.
Bullock says complaints have been filed, but he's never spoken to the owner of Goch and Sons about his concerns. But FOX 2 did.
Owner Mike Goch sent his manager Fletcher Ramsey to the press conference who had no problem defending the company and Mr. McFarland - the PR director who posted the n-word on his Facebook page.
"Mr. McFarland is a black man, he is entitled to say what he wants to say," Ramsey said. "He is a grown man. They have a right to their opinion but it's not true we aren't racist, we don't believe in that. We're not that type of company."
As far as targeting families and towing cars, Ramsey says it's simple - people are not reading the signs and parking where they should. The apartment hired Goch to tow vehicles illegally parked on their lot and that's what they are doing.
"We're not a predatory company we don't just tow like that," he said. "We don't stalk anyone that is not our practice."
But Bullock isn't giving up - he is planning a protest at the Goch and Sons towing company in southwest Detroit on Monday where they plan to make their message clear.
"We don't want anybody using the n-word," Bullock said. "We don't want to be treated like n's so the n treatment by Goch and sons has to stop."
Bullock wants the towing company to apologize, for the PR director to be fired and the apartment complex to cancel its contract.