If you sit back and look at a situation where someone makes a lot of money you have to question how it comes about. When there is a San Diego DUI checkpoint there is a slew of tow truck guys wanting arrests. Those companies get the contract to get the calls when there is a DUI arrest. However, at checkpoints people get towed for suspended licenses and a variety of other reasons.
I have seen the ability to tow usually being up to the officer at the time of the San Diego DUI arrest. If the vehicle is on the freeway the car is usually being towed. However, if the stop was on the street the officer has a choice. They can either give the choice to the San Diego arrestee to leave the car at the scene or get it towed. The tow charge can be hundreds of dollars.
I have seen many officers allow people to leave the car there, thereby saving the driver some money. However, I have seen many who towed it. It is amazing the amount of people who refuse to take the field sobriety tests and do not want to answer questions get towed. Coincidence?
In the end, it is well worth it to get towed to preserve your rights in a San Diego DUI stop. It is unfortunate when someone gets arrested….spends 12 hours in jail, your drivers license gets confiscated, their car towed, pays bail…..and their blood result is .06% or lower. DoH! It happens every day. Sorry you did not commit the crime but somehow already got punished. These are thoughts about what goes on behind the scenes in San Diego DUI cases.
Of all the cities in the county of San Diego, one can boast the spottiest history for tow-truck operators.
That informal honor has long gone to Escondido, and a recent action by the City of San Diego’s ethics commission has extended the dubious streak.
As Moss Gropen first reported here back in August 2010, the Escondido tow-truck industry has been at the center of a series of controversies involving checkpoints aimed either at drunk drivers or undocumented immigrants, depending on who is doing the talking.
“Police drunk-driving checkpoints are big business,” wrote Gropen. “Just ask the City of Escondido, which has been racking up profits courtesy of federal grants and an aggressive vehicle-impound regime instituted by the Escondido Police Department with the eager assistance of four local towing companies.
“Has the Escondido Police Department rid its streets of booze-sodden motorists? Or is the checkpoint program just another government shakedown, imposed under the guise of enhancing public safety?” queried Gropen.
The answer: “although 374 cars were impounded, there were only 32 arrests of those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other intoxicants. (The vast majority of “impound” motorists were selected due to license or registration infractions.)”
Two years later, the American Civil Liberties Union entered the fray, demanding an outside audit of Escondido’s towing practices.
“The data we do have causes us great concern about fiscal impropriety in Escondido,” ACLU executive director Kevin Keenan said.
“The ACLU contends that the fees the city charges for towing and impound costs from people who have been caught at checkpoints driving without a license are excessive and that the city may be profiting from them without telling the state, which issues grants that pay for many of the checkpoints,”.
Then there was the matter of Evan Sulaiman Khati, co-owner of Roadway Auto Towing, holder of an Escondido city towing concession.
“In 2006, Khati was charged in federal court with trying to bring an Iraqi man, Wala Yousif Polus, into the country from Tijuana in the trunk of his car at the San Ysidro Port of Entry,”
“Khati pleaded guilty in 2007 to a felony count of smuggling in an illegal immigrant and was placed on four years probation. He at first faced a charge of smuggling for financial gain, but pleaded the more serious charge down.”
‘The organization is a feel-good group that turns the spotlight on the next generation of business leaders. Gingrich honored Iravani and 149 other business leaders for succeeding in the ‘face of adversity and economic turmoil.'”
When NK Towing first received its contract with the Escondido police department, Iravani appeared before the city council in June 2011 to express his gratitude.
“From its start in 2004, NK Towing has been dedicated to providing the highest level of professional service to each city as we have given to the County and to the Southern California Auto Club,” said Iravani.
“Thank you for your vote of confidence. Our goal is to meet and exceed all expectations.”
Now Iravani has another distinction.
“By making contributions in the names of the straw donors,” the commission staff wrote, “Respondent concealed the fact that he made contributions totaling $2,000 to a City candidate, four times the contribution limit in effect at the time.”Last week he copped a deal with the City of San Diego ethics commission, admitting he had laundered contributions of $500 each to the mayoral campaign of district attorney Bonnie Dumanis through four employees in early 2012.
One of the employees named in the stipulation was Tabatha Mangiapane, who works for NK Towing and its female tow-truck drivers, and made about $35,000 “and up.”
“I had to look at her qualifications, not her gender,” Iravani was quoted as saying. “I look for talent, motivation, energy, a person knowing the job and customer service.”
“It’s really rewarding,” Mangiapane added. “A lot of people, you just saved their lives.”
County campaign disclosure records show Iravani himself gave $700 on June 29 of last year to Dumanis’s district attorney re-election bid. Katayoon Iravani of Woodland Hills, whose occupation is listed as “legal activist” gave the same amount the day before.
As a result of being nabbed by the commission, Iravani agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty.
Iravani declined comment, referring questions to his attorney, who didn’t return a phone call.
Last week’s settlements, which also involved three other straw Dumanis donors and totaled $35,000 in penalties, is the latest development in the ongoing saga of the district attorney’s shadowy campaign finances.
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