APK Towing Suing Seaside Heights
APK Auto Repair, the towing company that was accused of overcharging Seaside Heights residents in the days after Sandy is filing suit against the Borough claiming they were "thrown under the bus" in the wake of bad publicity.
The Asbury Park Press reports APK is suing for $300,000 for service, plus $2.6 million in damages.
Borough officials say they will fight the suit and call it "outrageous."
"(APK) couldn’t collect off all the people that they tried to take advantage of," Borough Administrator John Camera told the Asbury Park Press. He says the towing company is now "trying to take advantage of (the borough) and at the same time” seek damages in a lawsuit for $2.6 million.
APK,which holds the borough's towing contract, was asked to remove cars from streets to allow cleanup equipment access according to the Borough. However, residents claim APK employees went onto their property and towed away vehicles and boats and then charged several hundred dollars in storage fees.
APK's attorney, Michael Botton, claims in the suit the Borough “instructed APK towing to tow every car off the island, no matter what the location and regardless if they were in a hazardous location" according to the Asbury Park Press and to bill the owner. The borough denies issuing that order.
After much controversy, NJ’s Division of Consumer Affairs and the president of APK Auto Repair Corp. Matthew Zucaro brokered an agreement where the towing company agreed to release and return all vehicles and watercraft at no cost to the owners if the vehicles were removed between October 27 and November 9. As a result, APK was not charged with price gouging by the state.
It is the negative publicity that APK believes will keep them from being granted a towing contract with Toms River, which currently rotates two companies according to the Asbury Park Press. Matthew Zucaro says the publicity also affected his auto repair business and he never recovered.
“(APK owners Matthew Zucaro and Jason McGee) are just a couple of blue-collar guys trying to make a living and were thrown under the bus,” by borough officials Botton tells the Press.