Detroit council passes ordinance to overhaul troubled towing system

The Detroit City Council’s Tuesday meeting opened with a prayer for guidance. It comes as efforts are underway to clear a cloud of suspicion over activity regarding some towing companies in the city of Detroit.

Council Members who were present voted unanimously approving a number of changes in the city of Detroit’s towing system

The council voted on revisions are part of the Community Protection Tow Ordinance Amendments.  It allows for inspection of impound yards, requires certain methods of payment be accepted.

The Detroit Towing Association whose members make up the majority of Detroit police, authorized towers reacted to Tuesday’s vote by saying it’s members have wanted these changes for quite some time.

"They’ve been advocating for transparency for consumer protections in that ordinance - they have been advocating for it for many years," said Peggy Goodwin, Detroit Towing Association.

Other revisions in the ordinance include:

  • No more cash-only tow policies
  • Towers can't tow vehicles without the request of a public or private property owner.
  • All tow contracts will pass through a public and transparent RFP process.

The vote comes as the city of Detroit’s municipal towing system has received a black eye over recent years.

Former council member Andre Spivey resigned from City Council in September after pleading guilty to accepting bribes from a contractor.

Raids were recently conducted at the homes of council members Janee Ayers and Scott Benson on allegations of bribery involving towing companies in Detroit.

As the investigation continues, neither have been charged, and Benson participated in Tuesday’s voting. Ayers was not present but her name was mentioned.

FOX 2 contacted City Council members for this story, but none responded for comment.

As for Detroit’s Mayor Mike Duggan, he told FOX 2 in a statement:  "The approval of this new ordinance is an important step in reforming the city's troubled towing process…We will now move onto the next steps to assure accountability."

Although members in Detroit Towing Association have not been accused of any wrongdoing… they see Tuesday vote as a step to restore a positive light on the towing industry

"We’re not doing anything wrong that’s corrupt, or could be considered corrupt," Goodwin said. "And we want to move forward and just do our jobs in the city as we have been."