Tom Leighton agrees to use Wilkes-Barre’s website to post city tower’s prices and polices.

Last updated: April 25. 2013 11:48PM - 5556 Views
By - jlynott@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6120

Shawn Mankovich of Wilkes-Barre protests against the city's towing contract during a demonstration Thursday night before the Wilkes-Barre City Council meeting.
Shawn Mankovich of Wilkes-Barre protests against the city's towing contract during a demonstration Thursday night before the Wilkes-Barre City Council meeting.
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WILKES-BARRE — The only investigation of LAG Towing that mattered to Mayor Tom Leighton was his own, and he said little about it Thursday night after the City Council meeting.

For months he has been looking into complaints received about the alleged business practices of Leo A. Glodzik III, who has the city’s exclusive towing contract, and said he met with city officials about the investigation before the meeting.

But he provided few details about its progress and declined comment on any other possible probe. “We’re doing our own investigation,” said Leighton. “So anything being done, conducted by outside law enforcement agencies, we’re not privy to that information.”

He gave no time frame for a decision, saying he was not running up against the May 1 deadline for Glodzik to pay his $50,050 to the city for services provided during the past 12 months.

“When we gather all our facts and we’re comfortable with the decision that we will make, whether it’s in a positive or negative way affecting either party, it will be made,” he said.

The mayor added he expects Glodzik to pay in full next Wednesday.

As has been the case since July when council Vice Chairman Tony George asked the mayor to begin the process of terminating LAG’s contract, the tower and his practices have come up at the council meetings. George has pushed for the termination and, after complaints increased, he received the support of council in January to call for the mayor to act on LAG.

The process has been slow, Leighton acknowledged, saying: “We’re getting all the facts together. There’s a lot of facts.”

Additional information could be coming from a crash on Stucker Street involving John Godlewski’s car among others. “We had a hard time,” said Godlewski. “They called a (police) supervisor up there because the other cop said it has to get towed.”

He asked the mayor if a car must be towed if it’s involved in an accident and off the road where it’s normally parked. Leighton referred the question to former police chiefs George and council Chairman Bill Barrett.

“I would say no,” Barrett answered.

George added that if it’s off the road, the vehicle owner can call a tower instead of involving LAG.

Barrett suggested that Godlewski contact his neighbor to inquire if he made a complaint about LAG.

Ryan Verdekal has not had any dealings with LAG but said he has had enough of the news media reports about complaints against the tower and the mayor’s investigation. Verdekal and several others protested on Public Square and walked to City Hall for the council meeting.

He asked that LAG’s prices and policies be posted on the city’s website. “I don’t see any reason why any reputable company wouldn’t want its prices and policies to be posted online, especially on the official Wilkes-Barre website,” Verdekal said.

The mayor said he would talk to the chief, and his response drew catcalls from the audience.

One person shouted, “You run the city, mayor.”

Afterward, the mayor said the request would be granted.

“Quite honestly, I didn’t hear what (Verdekal) was saying,” Leighton said. “So we of course we will do that. I have no problem with that.It’s public information.”

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