Mesa City Council To Debate Towing Lawsuit In Private This Week

Nov 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: National News

The City Council of Mesa, Arizona, has moved discussion concerning a lawsuit filed on behalf of a towing company behind closed doors, according to a news report. The Council was supposed to make a decision on the matter Monday, Nov. 1, but instead the issue was removed from the regular meeting agenda.

The suit was filed by Thompson Diversified LLC, doing business as Valley Express Towing, after two firms won Mesa’s towing business in July, and after the city rejected the company’s appeal of contracts, awarded on July 8, the report states. The company’s owner, Richard Thompson, alleges that Mesa illegally altered the terms of a request for proposals that went out to towing companies early this year.

Thompson wants Mesa to give his company a contract based on terms of the original request, rather than reopening the bidding process – one of the options that Council could make. That route, he claims, would negate his lawsuit, which seeks “consequential and compensatory damages in an amount which will be proven at the time of trial,” according to the news report.

Thompson’s attorney, Gordon Bueler, claims Valley Express would have an award if the purchasing department has not secretly “cooked the books with their improvised scoring chart,” the report states, and says a rebid would have the same issues. City Manager Chris Brady acknowledged that city staffers changed the evaluation formula after firms submitted their bids, a step that Thompson and Bueler claim is illegal.

However, Brady claims the city felt the move was necessary because one of the bidders said it would charge nothing for some services, and entering zero in the mathematical formula rendered the math useless, according to the report. So the change was made in an effort to recognize that some companies were offering services at no charge, Brady said, and rejecting them for that would have been unfair.

The Mesa towing contract is awarded to companies offering the best prices and service for towing vehicles that have been damaged, stolen or abandoned. The city generates no revenue from the contract.

After controversy years ago, the city created four towing zones, with two zones awarded to Apache Sands Towing and two to All City Towing.

The Council will consider the issue tomorrow, Nov. 4, at the morning executive session, a legal move when the Council is considering how to respond to litigation. The council also considered the matter behind closed doors last Thursday (Oct. 28).

Brady said the issue will reappear on a regular meeting agenda so it can be discussed and voted on in open session as well, according to the report.