Mayor, councilman spar over whether city has adequate data to terminate contract.

Last updated: May 15. 2013 12:50AM - 3365 Views

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WILKES-BARRE — City Council Vice Chairman Tony George asked the same question he has asked at every council meeting for nearly a year, but this time Mayor Tom Leighton decided to give more than vague answers.

George wanted to know when Leighton will complete his investigation of complaints filed against LAG Towing and its owner, Leo A. Glodzik.

Leighton told George that as a former city police chief, he should know that a thorough investigation takes time. “But I’m not surprised if you don’t know that,” Leighton said.

George first proposed looking into complaints against LAG in January 2012 and council approved the probe in July, he said. There are several contract violations that would justify terminating the LAG contract, he said.

“LAG has not provided the required reports, he has violated city ordinances, there have been many complaints filed against him and he was arrested,” George said. “Why is this investigation taking so long?”

Leighton responded by questioning George’s motives — noting that George and City Wide Towing owner Bob Kadluboski, the city’s former towing contractor, are friends. George acknowledged he and Kadluboski are friends, but that City Wide is not the issue now.

“LAG is the issue,” George said. “When I was chief, we did have complaints about City Wide and we handled them. Any complaints that were made because of City Wide’s private towing contracts were not city business.”

George said he asked for the LAG probe after city residents came to council with complaints about the company. That’s his duty as a councilman, he said.

“LAG is wrong,” George said. “He’s been taking advantage of people, and that’s what I’m concerned about.”

George said he wasn’t surprised at Leighton’s personal attack.

“That’s what he does,” George said of the three-term mayor. “Nobody coerces me.”

Leighton told George he would be told when the investigation is completed.

“When we make a decision, you will be the first to know,” Leighton said. “We all know why you’re doing this. You’re friends with City Wide.”

LAG pays the city $50,050 per year for the right to be the city’s exclusive towing contractor.

Leighton, at council’s request, has been looking into allegations of price gouging and complaints against LAG that could lead to terminating the contract awarded in 2009 and amended in 2010. The mayor has not given a time frame for his decision.

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