STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Staten Island towing company has filed a lawsuit against the city and the NYPD for wrongful contract termination.
Breen Bros. Towing, which has served the Staten Island community for over 40 years, filed a lawsuit last Friday claiming the NYPD revoked its five-year arterial towing contract after just nine months without proper cause or notification, according to court records.
“Our contract was terminated without cause for what the city calls convenience,” said manager Joseph Breen in a recent interview.
New York City is currently broken down into 17 arterial highway towing districts, two of which are located on Staten Island.
The NYPD is responsible for contracting companies to remove disabled vehicles from New York City’s arterial highways, including the Staten Island Expressway and West Shore Expressway, according to NYC Traffic Law Section 4-07i.
While Staten Island’s districts had previously been serviced by two borough-based companies, one of which was Breen Bros. Towing. The contracts for both districts have since been awarded to Runway Towing Corp. in Queens, according to court documents.
“We’ve been here a long time and being able to service the residents of Staten Island means a lot to us,” said Breen.
Runway Towing Corp. already controls five arterial towing districts in Brooklyn and Queens, in addition to the two Staten Island segments they were recently granted, according to the lawsuit.
The Request for Applications for the Arterial Tow Services Contract stated that no vendor could be awarded more than three segments and “no applicant may be awarded both segments sixteen and seventeen unless it is determined that the award is in the best interests of the City,” according to court records.
In February, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance indicted 17 people, including Daniel Steininger of Long Island, for monopolizing the towing industry through violence, fraud and corruption.
Though the February case did not implicate Breen Bros. Towing in the scheme, the city elected to revoke all given towing contracts, regardless of involvement, according to records.
“The city’s excuse was that the commissioner felt as though the corruption had permeated through the entire procurement process,” said Breen.
Despite the recent monopolization indictment, New York City’s 17 towing districts are now operated by only four companies.
The NYC Department of Central Administrative Services’ Office of Citywide Procurement, responsible for the purchasing of certain goods and services for city agencies through contract procurements, declined to comment on the case, stating that the NYPD would be the appropriate agency to handle the matter.
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI), responsible for NYPD media relations, would not comment on the suit at the time of publication.