Civil War Erupts Between Tremont and Beach Towing on South Beach

Categories: Politicks
towing.jpg
photo by Ruben de Rijcke via Wikimedia Commons

​Every night, hundreds of unlucky partiers stumble out of South Beach clubs to find their cars gone, hauled to a grim storage lot on Bay Road and held for ransom. Towing is big business for the Beach's only two licensed companies -- Tremont and Beach Towing -- and since their last competitor went under in 1991, they've been a dual monopoly happy to rake in the cash. Until now.

An all-out civil war has erupted in recent months, as Tremont's new owner tries to build a high-tech garage and Beach Towing does everything to derail the plan. Commissioners are so fed up they're even considering cutting both companies out of the game and opening a city storage lot on Terminal Island.

"This is the most atrocious abuse of the system I've ever seen," says David Nevel, Tremont's attorney.

"All we're doing is exercising our due process rights," counters Kent Harrison Robbins, Beach Towing's lawyer.

In Miami Beach, the city requires all towing companies to have a lot in the city limits, and the two firms own all the land zoned for that use. For years, their long-time proprietors -- Tremont's Edwin "Junior" Gonzalez and Beach's Mark Festa -- partnered on other companies and gave heavily to local politicos.

All of that changed when developer Russell Galbut recently bought a controlling stake from Gonzalez. Galbut's plan: Move Tremont into a garage at his newest project, the Windjammer at 1747 Bay Road. In the meantime, he sold Tremont's longtime lot behind Publix and planned to move into a smaller temporary space nearby.

That's when Beach Towing jumped in. Starting in September, its lawyers began filing appeals to the Windjammer's permits -- at least five in all -- Nevel says. Meanwhile, they pointed to the city's tow contract, which requires 100 spaces. Tremont's temporary lot falls well short, they say.

"For 30 years, the permit has always required 100 spots," Ralph Andrade, a Beach Towing rep, said to the Miami Beach City Commission on April 13. "It's that simple."

Andrade's speech threw Galbut into a rage. "This is all for the greed of one company," he yelled at the commission. "They're abusing the laws of the city to create a farce on you!"

While the city mediates the Windjammer fight, Commissioner Ed Tobin also introduced another solution: Let the city do the towing to a lot on Terminal Island. The commission voted to study the issue further.

While Tremont, Beach, and the city slug it out, one thing is certain: As long as South Beach clubs are packed, tow trucks will keep printing cash for their owners.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
mboroki
mboroki

They should stick to towing instead of quarreling over stupid issues. most importantly they should let us enjoy our cold beers without wondering whether someones has a hitch to our car and is towing it away! How am i supposed to enjoy my happy times?

Rip Holmes
Rip Holmes

Dear Miami New Times and Miami New Times Readers:

I am sure many of you will agree with me that the towing situation on South Beach, $200.00 for a tow which never should have occurred, is a terrible insult to our tourists, and is very harmful to our tourism.

The Miami Beach City Commission should have long ago provided public parking garages, and is the entity legally and morally responsible for this minor disgrace to our tourism industry.

However, Junior Gonzalez has probably become one of the richest people in Miami-Dade County ripping people off for $200 for tows which the rest of the County's towing companies only charge about $100 for.

He deserves his bad fate -- KARMA for a greedy, uncaring, gluttonously selfish person. 

It seems strange, indeed, that now Miami Beach towing is in a worse position than ever, with fewer, not more, competition.

The City should:  1) build more parking garages, which it has the legal duty to do, and 2) develop Terminal Island for responsible, affordable, towing.

The whole $200 tow is, to me -- as a 13 year taxi driver on South Beach -- a racket born of the incompetence of Miami Beach City government's refusal to do its job, namely provide parking!

Sincerely,

Jackson Rip HolmesSouth Beach taxi driver

Jodi-40
Jodi-40

In the late 80's I had a run in with Tremont towing....at the time they had the city towing contract, but their bodyshop/towing buisness didn't have a buisness liscense. They, in my opinion, were trashing cars, to make money off them in their unliscensed body shop. I sued them, and WON.....what scum bags !!!!!

Kcee
Kcee

Towing companies are run by fat, shit stained pants jeans or jean short wearing scumbags who take pleasure in ruining your day and ruining your hard earned car. Someone should go to each towing company, ruin their warehouse or wherever the establishment might be located, destroy the trucks as in the tires the towing mechanisms in the back everything. Banish all towing companies and tow trucks. I fkin wish they didnt exist. Theres not enough parking as it is give us a break if we park somewhere not to your liking. fck you!!!!!!!!

Rolling Green
Rolling Green

So, how much did YOU pay to recover your vehicle? 

Commissioners take bribes
Commissioners take bribes

Both tow companies are scum. Why does Miami Beach allow them? Bribes, campaign vContributions.

SOBE resident
SOBE resident

BAN BOTH THIEVES!!! Tow prices have ridiculosuly escalated, probably due to their monopoly, and I experienced and observed highly unethical practices from Miami Beach towing companies. I witnessed a tow truck back up behind a woman's vehicle as she walked from it with her toddler...she turned back and started to speak with the tower for several minutes, after which she paid him. I asked what happened and she said he told her she had to pay him $70 (or $90?) or he will tow the car. He never even hitched her car yet she had to pay him to leave it! My car was towed and I found it was damaged by the tower when I went to pick it up. I was given a name and number to call the next day. The person told me to take him to court! THIEVES!

Anbolic4u
Anbolic4u

====================================http://www.anabolicsteroids4u....====================================* Online Pharmacy* legit Products* World wide shipping* Discreet Packing* Out Class service* Delivery Through Express shipping* Payment through Western union or money gram

http://www.anabolicsteroids4u....

Our minimum order quantity is US$ 100 + US$ 35 for shipping charges

Write code "Berlin" at checkout at our website to get an exclusive 10% discount on order above US$ 300FREE SHIPPING on order above US$ 600We ship from NETHERLANDS so our success shipping is higherSo order now

We don't accept pay-pal,

we are silver key member of trade key.com no 1 b2b site world wide and it increases the credibility of are company as well as are productso you can trust us we always dis page a parcel after receiving the money and provide a tracking number

also we never had any custom issue in USA

a waiting on early responseJose Lister

BullyBeef
BullyBeef

I compare them to roaches feeding on Miami Beach locals the city should close both companies !

DNIYM
DNIYM

would be amazing if they both lost their ability to tow.

Ban both companies
Ban both companies

Both companies should be banned. They are both pigs.

As for the little twit Kent Robbins..,

Valerie
Valerie

Tow-ers are like constantly hovering vultures waiting to pounce on invisitors who are only looking to spend money on a little night out. If a space can accomodate a car, and isn't hurting anyone why not let the car be if it's not hindering commerce? With the scarcity of parking space these blood sucking parasitic leeches keep busy preying on those who bring the revenue Sobe needs to survive. 90% of the time there's no compelling reason to tow a car but you have to be a basic asshole to enjoy this job and those in government who give them the authority to do so are equally to blame. Give a parking ticket yeah ok but the crime doesn't justify the punishment ie. the outrageous fees of $250 and more. I've been towed a few times and heard and seen evidence of shady and sketcy ways they conduct their business. I've heard accounts of personal items like sunglasses, DVD's, and cash disappearing, pinched by weasly police and slimy bottom feeding tow-ers. It would surprise me if tow-ers don't have links to organized crime aka the mafia. I have no doubt that if one of your journalists dug deep enough they'd find that kick backs to public officials and law enforcement is probably a regular ongoing custom.

Brakeyoself
Brakeyoself

Everyone from sobe knows that both companies are Mafia affiliated... About time! they are scumbags hiding behind the laws pushed by some lobbyists who's getting paid. Shut them down.

guest
guest

Tremont ran over a friend of mine, then fled the scene.

TowThisBitch
TowThisBitch

both companies are full of scumbags, start from scratch.

ivxx
ivxx

lol i hope they both lose their contracts...

i remember going into the beach with a friend to pick up a metro officers who's car wouldn't start. as soon as we entered the beach we were surround by their trucks as they barked questions about what we were doing there. Once they heard it was a county call they scattered like roaches...

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...