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HUNTINGTON PARK : Rival Towing Firm Shut Out Again

June 13, 1993|SANDRA HERNANDEZ

The City Council has granted an early extension of H.P. Tow Service's exclusive contract until 2000--once again denying a competitor a chance to bid on the multimillion-dollar contract.

The current contract, which does not expire until 1995, is worth an estimated $2.5 million over five years, according to Bravo Khosroabadi, who owns Maywood Club Towing with his brother. Last week's 3-2 vote marked the second time the council has denied a request by Maywood Club Towing to bid on a contract to become the city's official police garage for towed vehicles.

Khosroabadi said he was told his April, 1987, request was denied because his company was outside the city limits, in Maywood. The company has since moved to Huntington Park and spent $150,000 in improvements in anticipation of bidding on the contract.

The council postponed extending H.P.'s contract in November, but extended it last week after a heated debate. The company, which said it had spent about $800,000 in improvements, recently moved from East Slauson Avenue in Huntington Park to Roseberry Avenue in unincorporated county territory, one block outside the city limits. H.P. officials declined to comment.

"It just doesn't make sense," Mayor Ric Loya said after the vote. "I thought we had made a decision back in November to wait until 1995 to renew the contract."

Maywood had offered the city a rebate in a proposal presented last year, according to Loya.

Philip John Halverson, an attorney for Maywood, said the company is considering action against the city. The city is not legally bound to solicit bids on service contract, according to City Attorney Steven N. Skolnik.

"What justifiable reason is there for the city not to allow for bidding on a contract?" Halverson said.

Councilman Luis M. Hernandez said contract extensions are not in the best interest of the city because they limit the control city officials have over services such as towing and waste disposal. "We haven't even concluded this contract and already we are extending it," he said. "It's like giving an 'A' before a class is over. How about allowing another good company have a chance at the contract?"

But Councilman Thomas E. Jackson, said at the meeting that the extension was justified: "H.P Towing has had this contract for 25 years and done a great job. We say 'thank you' to contracts by renewing their applications."

Jackson said H.P. was forced to move after the city told the company it intended to develop the East Slauson Avenue location. The city's redevelopment agency said it has no record of a letter to H.P. requesting the company move, but acknowledged that a shopping center had been proposed for the site. That plan has fallen through.

Huntington Park does not receive revenue from the towing contract, the city attorney said.

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