This Towing Story Has Legs
Quick recap: Politically connected company, Environmental Auto Reclaimation, gets city contract seven months after forming. EAR buys towed cars from city for less than $130 each. Towed cars are sold from pound after only 15 days. People of city get screwed, stuck with fines and their old car loans.
It's a bad problem, and the Sun-Times has been doing everything it can to keep it in the spotlight. But in the week or so since it was first reported, a few things have come to light. First, John Kass and others at the Chicago Tribune have been pointing out that this story was actually first reported in 2003. Kass reports that federal prosecutors have been working on this for some time. So where are the indictments? Chicagoist wonders.
Then there's the inevitable comparisons to the Hired Truck Scandal (so important, it gets capitalized now) from last winter. While this little city "infraction" may turn out to be as big, or bigger, there's one significant difference in the story: Regular folks are getting ripped off. While there's lots of people upset about trucking kickbacks, regular people losing their cars resonates much more with the voting public. We should watch for this story to last a long, long time.
And on a side note, did anyone else read Sneed today and wonder if Mayor Daley might be in line for a cabinet post? Perhaps HUD Secretary? A long shot, but still an interesting thought...