1999-08-07 / Columnists

From the G-Man

by Gary G. Toms

Hey people! Recently, I had the misfortune of having to deal with one of the city agencies: The Parking Violations Bureau. My car had been towed, and I was informed that the reason was due to a number of outstanding summonses on a previous car I owned. When I decided to do a little checking, I was shocked to find that a former roommate of mine had received these tickets, and the idiot never said anything to me about them. Wait, it gets better. All of the tickets are close to 10 years old! Now during that 10 year period, I had moved a number of times, and not once did I receive any notification from the PVB. Needless to say, "Gee" was not happy.

I contacted the PVB, and I was told I owed a lot of money. They then told me that payment must be made in full, within seven to 10 days, or the car would be auctioned off. With all that was spent to acquire the car, I did not want to risk losing it. I scrambled around to get up the money, and I paid everything that was due. All that was left to do was pick up my car.

I arrived at the location that the Department of Finance had sent me to. Imagine my surprise when they told me that my car was not there, and that it was back in Far Rockaway. I’d just spent $25 on a cab, and these people where telling me I had to go all the way back to Queens. Soon, other people started coming in, from Far Rockaway as well, and they were told the same thing. I told them that I refused to spend another $25 on a cab, and after speaking with management, they had one of their tow guys take me back to Rockaway. It was only a matter of time before I would be reunited with "Gracie", and this nightmare would be over.

The tow truck driver was a freaking lunatic! He was a combination of Cheech Marin, in the old days, and Keith Richards on an acid trip. He was cursing up a storm while weaving in and out of the traffic, and he constantly referred to me as "papi". We managed to get halfway to the destination and he received a call to pick up two more vehicles. He dropped me off at his supervisor’s shop, and the supervisor said that he’d take me the rest of the way.

I spent an hour and 15 minutes waiting for this guy to take me to Rockaway, and after letting him know he was pissing me off, he finally drove me to the area where the car was.

While in route, I had explained my situation to him, and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. This guy also happened to work for the sheriff’s department, and he told me that what the city had done to me was not fair. He then went on to tell me that I would’ve paid only a fraction of what I paid because the judge would’ve looked at the years the tickets were issued and laughed. I was told to try and fight to recoup some of the money that was taken from me by the city. I assured him that I would. So, if there is anyone out there that might be able to assist me in getting some of my money back, please don’t hesitate to leave a message at the office of The Wave. I really could use the help.

This was truly a learning experience for me. I learned just how good the city is at ripping off its citizens. All of the various departments involved, from the PVB to the ticket agents, have put together an elaborate scheme to get anyone that happens to own a vehicle in the state of New York. If you don’t know how things work within this sorry system, as I didn’t, then it’s all too easy for them to take advantage of you. I saw, and heard about, what horrible things are done to people in this city, and it really made me angry. However, I have a way of getting back at these jackasses, and I could care less how mad they get. Just remember the following, in addition to what was previously told to me by that supervisor, because these are the things you are not supposed to know.

1. If the information on the ticket, such as the name, address or plate number, is incorrect, the judge will throw it out. Even if one letter in your name is wrong, you can fight it.

2. You do not have seven to 10 days before your car is auctioned off if towed. You have three to four weeks! That’s just a scare tactic used to make you pay the money as quickly as possible.

3. They send you from one place to another, when trying to redeem your car, in the hopes that you will not get there by the time the facility closes. Thus, making you responsible for paying add-on fees for an extra day of storage.

4. Don’t be afraid to go before the judge if you feel you’ve been wrongly ticketed. They just might rule in your favor or reduce the fees.

See you next week.


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