Saturday, August 16, 2008
Towing Operator Accused Of "Double Dipping" While Under Contract With Ames, Iowa
I guess I don't expect too much towing scandal in the State of Iowa. In fact, I've never before blogged about any incidents in Iowa. But with this article Micheal Louis, 51, the owner of Mike Louis Auto Body Repair and Towing, just put Iowa on the Towing Utopia map...
According to reporter Luke Jennett, Louis was arrested for double-billing while under contract with the City of Ames. "Icing on the cake" charges include fraudulent insurance submission, ongoing criminal conduct, second-degree theft and third-degree fraudulent practices. He is being held on $60,000 bail.
Police have concluded Louis was using two sets of books: one for the city and one for the insurance companies. He would charge insurance companies whopping fees but the paperwork he showed the City of Ames had the agreed upon rate. Because their own department administered this contract, Ames police were forced to shift the investigation to the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety.
Louis says (through his lawyer) it's all a big smear campaign and he has done nothing wrong. Supposedly this is a political vendetta set off by Louis suing the city, alleging breach of contract.
Oh, and he wants his bail reduced.
I'm kind of surprised he hasn't posted bail. In a purely speculative way, I chalk it up to two possibilities:
1.) He's an incredible cheapskate who wants to hold out for a better deal, despite the fact he has plenty of money socked away from sticking it to the public.
2.) Vice. Only some kind of expensive personal weakness could account for taking in so much money from dubious towing practices, but not having enough money on hand to--good heavens!--secure one's own freedom.
Then again, how rough could incarceration be in Ames, Iowa?
"Um, so what are you in for?"
"They say I'm a pig rustler."
My own search of the jail roster reveals no Michael Louis. I suspect he already made bail.