In swift and decisive action the Metro Transportation and Licensing Commission voted today to revoke the business permit of Area Towing as well as the towing license of former owner Timmy Dee Garrett.
Area Towing has been responsible for much of the illegal towing occurring in Nashville’s Gay District around Church Street and other GLBT nightclubs.
Commission Chair Cynthia M. Odle listened as four people testified about the actions of Area Towing, and was told by Brian McQuistion, director of the Transportation Licensing Commission, that more than 30 written complaints had been lodged against the company.
The complaints came after an O&AN story on illegal towing, and the appearance of Brian McQuistion, executive director of the Metro Transportation and Licensing Commission, and Joey Brown, co-owner of Play Dance Club, on Out & About Today, a GLBT news and information TV show on News Channel 5+. McQuistion and Brown talked in-depth about the illegal towing problem.
McQuistion had told the four commissions present that the owner of Area Towing, Timmy Dee Garrett, had sold his business Mark Wayman – who was present at the hearing and was told that he would not be able to operate a business as Area Towing, would not be allowed to hire any of its former employees, and would be required to approach the commission next month for a hearing on a new license for his towing company.
It is only one of many problems Garrett seems to face. A Metro Police sergeant present told commissioners that Garrett also had a warrant out for his arrest. Another person present said she had been told that Garrett may be trying to open a limo business and had been seen driving a tow truck around town.
“This is a group of people that I don’t want to ever see doing business in Nashville under any name,” Odle said.
After hearing the set of complaints, Odle said the company’s actions and its employees “remind me of a throwback of previous days, where rogue towing often occurred.”
The commission voted to revoke the current permit of Garrett to operate Area Towing (or any towing company) and went further to revoke the wrecker driver permit of Garrett and that at anytime in the future if he reapplied for a permit, he would be required to appear before the commission. Commissions also McQuistion to notify Metro Police, the Downtown Partnership and all other towing companies of this action and the concern by the commission about the illegal practices by Area Towing.
“The complaints are so egregious,” Odle said. “This company and its employees broke local and state laws. As the owner of the business Tim Garrett needs to be held accountable.”
Commissioners also asked McQuistion to research who was working for Area Towing to determine if individual wrecker drivers could be held accountable and called to the commission for possible action against them.
“We need to make sure they never drive for a wrecker company again,” Olde explained. “It has been a long time since I sat here and looked at a stack of complaints like this. It really grieves me.”