No mo' towing policy bites Whole Foods in their organic butt

City can't shut down Lone Star towing without help from public to get convictions

After being cited by the City for operating an illegal parking service on their property last week, Whole Foods pulled the pay-to-park service off the lot this past weekend. And by 11pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there wasn't a single parking space left on the Whole Foods or Blockbuster parking lot. Even the spaces alongside the loading dock, which are not legal parking places, were full of cars.

But Whole Foods' bad attitude against putting a towing service on the Blockbuster side of the lot - which the residential neighbors demand as a buffer to the noise from the Whole Foods parking lot - came back to bite them in the butt when a Dallas resident found his car towed off the parking lot.

So, you may ask, he got towed?? What's the big deal about being towed from a Lower Greenville parking lot?

The Lone Star Auto Service was kicked off the Blockbuster property in April after it was discovered they did not have a contract and were charging an illegal governmental entity fee on top of the towing fee. Lone Star was told by the property owner in April to remove their signs. They never did.

But on Saturday night, the sight of all those cars in the parking lot was too much for Lone Star's tow truck drivers, and they were popping cars off the lot like it was Christmas. A whole bunch of cars.

One victim found BD's stories about Lone Star Auto Services and Whole Foods bad attitude, and sent us this well-written explanation of what happened to him.

I read your story on this scumbag company while doing some research after my car was towed from the Blockbuster/Whole Foods parking lot on Greenville and Belmont this past Saturday night.

I called both Blockbuster and Whole Foods and spoke with their managers the next morning. They both said that they do not have a contract with any towing company. Blockbuster even offered as an explanation that the signs directly in front of their store were only a deterrent and that no towing should be taking place.

I actually didn't park directly in front of the store, but in the second row from the street the signs were not visible unless you walked up to the store. I didn't catch the Blockbuster manager's name but the Whole Foods manager I spoke with was Ann.

On top of all that, Lone Star charged a government entity fee of $48.65, which I understand is not supposed to be charged and is the reason the company has been cited a dozen times.

I did speak with a Lone Star employee while finding out where I could get my car. Tenica says the company has a contract with Blockbuster, which according to Ann at Whole Foods has long since expired.

BD sent a copy of the story to the Whole Foods manager and the owners of the property (Council Member Mitchell Rasansky and a business partner) - if we get a comment from them, it will be posted (not like we expect one).

Lone Star's Lower Greenville manager contacted BD on Wednesday morning after seeing our fax asking for an explanation. He claims it was a clerical error at the office which resulted in Blockbuster being put back on the active contract list. He also swears they will reimburse anyone towed (he estimates eight cars were towed) for the towing fee and any taxi charges. They are going back through their records to find and notify all the victims of the mistake.

If you were towed on Saturday night, call Lone Star's Scott Moser at 214-914-7128. But keep your receipts and do not sign any kind of release saying you won't file a complaint on them for this dumb trick.

BD does not believe for one moment this was a paperwork error. Lone Star knew what they were doing was wrong, but did not count on anyone figuring it out, and were probably planning to do it again and again.

Only after getting BD's request for an explanation on Wednesday morning did they realize they were busted. If you think they are going to let $1,600 dollars worth of income go walking out the door without a fight, I have a bridge over the Trinity River I want to sell you.

After (actually, if) you get your money back, go online to the Texas Department of Licensing (click here) and file a complaint. The instructions will tell you where to fax your receipts. The state can issue big fines on Lone Star for this stupidity after an investigation.

Then fax those documents to the City's Public Works & Transportation Department at 214-670-6968. They will issue a Notice of Violation to Lone Star for the illegal tow and illegal fee. But here's where it gets messy.

According to City sources, Lone Star is still in business - despite dozens of citations for the illegal governmental entity fee - because the City has not secured at least three convictions in twelve months against the company.

And why not? Because despite all those complaints being filed by the public and all the citations being issued, when it comes to showing up at court to testify about the fees, everyone suddenly gets cold feet or busy. It's your own damn fault for not following through with this issue. If you want your money back, and you want to see Lone Star shut down, you need to step up and testify.

If just three of Saturday's victims show up and help convict Lone Star, they are so out of here it's not funny.

And finally, fax your documents to BD at 214.292.9761 so we can add it our files for future reference. If Lone Star refuses to give you the refund, send us an email with your information and we will be in touch with you fast.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Lower Greenville