Towing company sues over Monroe's approved list

Posted: February 27, 2014

MONROE TWP. A Monroe Township towing company has filed another lawsuit against the town and its leadership over its official towing list.

In the complaint, filed Feb. 14 in Superior Court in Woodbury, John Simmermon III, owner of A-Jacks Towing, says five of the seven companies on the list failed to comply with certain requirements by the Nov. 1 deadline to be considered. Township officials use the list, approved each year, to rotate towing referrals among the companies weekly.

Simmermon reached a $1 million settlement with the township last summer in another towing-related lawsuit. He contended that the township retaliated against him for being outspoken and "trying to raise standards for towing operators" in Monroe, according to his lawyer, Michael T. Sweeney.

His company was closed by the township for several weeks in 2007 over a zoning issue and excluded from the 2008 list, Sweeney said. A-Jacks was included on the 2009 list. The township admitted no guilt in its settlement.

A-Jacks and A.A. Auto Salvage were the only two companies on the list last year. Seven companies were approved for the current list.

Sweeney contends township officials have not fairly applied requirements to other companies. Township code dictates that facilities be current on property taxes and obtain "all local, county, and state approvals," among other standards.

This month's lawsuit argues that the five companies added this year failed to meet some criteria - such as applying emissions stickers on certain vehicles and possessing necessary permits.

"That takes away revenue from compliant companies," Sweeney said.

Mayor Michael Gabbianelli referred a request for comment to the township solicitor, Charles Fiore, whose office did not return a request for comment.

Owners of some of the companies referenced in the lawsuit, who were not listed as defendants, denied the claims.

Dominic Burgese, owner of B&B Auto Repair, said his truck did not need an emissions sticker because it is under 18,000 pounds, contrary to the filing's assertion.

"He needs to do some more research," Burgese said.

Cecil Collision owner Thomas Atack said the address listed for his business in the complaint referred to the personal, temporary storage space beside his company's headquarters.

Atack said Simmermon's case was "just a matter of money."

"He wants all the towing basically for himself," Atack said. "It's a shame. We're all just small businessmen."

Representatives for two other companies declined comment; a third did not respond to a request.

856-779-3917 @AJFichera

comments powered by Disqus