Andrew Mirmelli Defends His Parking Lot on 17th Street and Lenox Avenue

mirmelli.jpg
Andrew Mirmelli
For the past month, Riptide had been pounding the drum about Tremont Towing snatching cars from a private parking lot on 17th Street at Lenox Avenue in South Beach. Multiple residents have lobbed a laundry list of allegations at the lot, including that it's meter is deliberately similar to the city's nearby electronic meters, yet their cars were towed unless they used the private meter. Others complained that signs warning motorists the lot isn't a city facility were too small and that they were towed for not displaying their ticket properly. Miami Beach resident Hanni Von Metzger even accused Tremont of using two men to rig the machine so the license plate number on receipts didn't match those of cars in the lot -- giving Tremont another reason to tow.

See also:
- Pay the Meter and You'll Still Get Towed at This Private Miami Beach Lot

Now Mirmelli has responded, telling Banana Republican his lot is fairly marked and that he's "not in the business of making a buck by towing cars."

Mirmelli returned Banana Republican's call (we'd left multiple messages in recent weeks, but Mirmelli says they were left at the wrong number) after reporters from CBS 4 and Local 10 followed our articles to find out why this particular lot has generated so much ire.

The lot owner says he was hesitant to respond to the complaints in the media. "I was very reluctant to speak to any reporter," he says. "I know a lot of people are pissed off. But I'm not in the business of making a buck from towing cars. If that was the case, pretty soon I wouldn't have any customers."

Mirmelli defends using Tremont to tow cars whose drivers don't pay his private meter. "Towing is a necessary evil in the private parking business," he says. "People simply don't read the signs I've put up."

When Riptide initially reported about the Lenox Avenue lot April 8, there were only two signs instructing parkers where to pay and to properly display their receipts on the dash. Since then, Mirmelli says, he's put up five more signs at all the lot's entry and exit points. As a result, he relays, the number of cars being towed has dropped.

He says he won't help people who pay the city meters, but he claims he has returned towing fees or gotten Tremont to release vehicles free of charge to customers who prove they paid his meter.

Mirmelli also flatly denied Metzger's accusations that Tremont employees were rigging the meter. "The person ahead of her saw the cheapest rate was two hours for $10, decided it was too expensive, and walked away," Mirmelli explains. "It takes a few seconds for a pending transaction to cancel. She didn't wait for it to clear."

He also refutes the claim that he purposely modeled his meter off the city's models to confuse parkers, noting that he purchased his in 2011, a year before the Miami Beach Parking Department began using the same machine.

"It's just a terrible coincidence," he says. "My goal is to make sure people know how to use my meter."

Mirmelli also denies a business relationship with Tremont other than using the company as a towing contractor. Two Miami Beach blogs, Rachel Unleashed and Random Pixels, have recently published posts accusing Mirmelli of being cozier with Tremont than he admits. For example, state corporate records show he was Tremont Towing's treasurer for three months in 2012. His mother, Diedre, is also listed as the principal owner of Tremont Towing Investment LLC.

But Mirmelli says his mom, a 65-year-old retired schoolteacher, only invested in a development project at 1747 Bay Rd. that would include a new storage lot for Tremont.

"She has no involvement in the day-to-day operations of Tremont," he says.

See also
- Tremont Towing Snags Another Car That Paid To Park in Private SoBe Lot

- Miami Beach Motorists: Beware the Parking Lot on 17th Street at Lenox Avenue

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.



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16 comments
CheckpointCharlie73
CheckpointCharlie73

Miami Beach, it is run like Ethiopia, and the tow truck companies have been the #1 thugs and criminals there for decades of abuse. 

redred
redred

Both tow company are criminals and the city rewards them, commissoners voted to raise the tow fees to $350. It's an outrage. The parkign and transportation committee, headed by Marc Weithorn, husband of Commissioner Deede Weithorn, also voted to approve tow raise in 2004 and again in 2012. Ask yourself, why would a committee made up of  residents do such a stupid thing. What are they getting in return?

redred
redred

the tow company are criminals and the city rewards them, commissoners voted to raise the tow fees to $350. It's an outrage. The parkign and transportation committee, headed by Marc Weithorn, husband of Commissioner Deede Weithorn, also voted to approve tow raise in 2004 and again in 2012. Ask yourself, why would a committee made up of  residents do such a stupid thing. What r they getting in return?

jdomar
jdomar

Per Sunbiz, it clearly shows she is the only person on the LLC,  and therefore profits when tows are made.  That she earns more money when more tows are made is clearly a potential conflict of interest in the lot with her son, esp. where people are complaining about unfair tows. As a lawyer I've handled some wrecker/tower cases and its sad to say it usually is an issue of tower corruption, in my experience 



FatHand
FatHand

Who cares if his mom is involved in the day to day operations? Is she (or he) a part owner and therefore receives a share of Tremont Towing's profits? The whole "Tremont Towing Investment LLC" points to a "yes". Which means his excuses/defenses are likely bullshit.

Richard Nolan
Richard Nolan

Andrew is just another cheap Remora like human being and just another reason why this city really sucks to live in ! Oh and a Remora is a sucker fish which attaches it's itself to a bigger fish like a scum sucking scavenger !

IVXX
IVXX

Mirmelli also flatly denied Metzger's accusations that Tremont employees were rigging the meter. "The person ahead of her saw the cheapest rate was two hours for $10, decided it was too expensive, and walked away," Mirmelli explains. "It takes a few seconds for a pending transaction to cancel. She didn't wait for it to clear."

Why would he know that... is he aware of every single mundane occurrence at the parking meters..?

RachelUnleashed
RachelUnleashed

@jdomar Yes, and just the day before Tremont Towing Investment LLC was formed, on March 8th, 2012, Andrew Mirmelli was removed from the board of directors on sunbiz.org from Tremont Towing.  You can see the documents in my blog, link above.

FatHand
FatHand

@jdomar Except that just because she is listed as managing member of Tremont Towing Investment, LLC does not mean she is the principal owner or anything, just managing member. She could own 0.5% of the LLC. And (however unlikely) Tremont Towing Investment, LLC might not be the same Tremont Towing or whatever. Not that I believe any of this. I believe they're scammers.

RachelUnleashed
RachelUnleashed

@FatHand Of course they are.  Please read my article on www.rachelunleashed.com.  I have been researching these guys for 4 months now since I was erroneously towed by Tremont Tow in January. 

RachelUnleashed
RachelUnleashed

@IVXX Exactly.  It sounds to me that Mirmelli is making it up as he goes along.  While I was there reporting on CBS4 and ABC's Local 10 news, the machine was not working.  The malfunctioning machine was caught on camera and aired on CBS4.  Check out my website for the links.

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