Towing company owner wants Hobart work back

2012-07-25T20:30:00Z 2012-08-15T20:51:04Z Towing company owner wants Hobart work backBy Deborah Laverty, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223

HOBART | T & K Towing owner Tony Cuba wants his name cleared and his company put back on the city's towing list, said his attorney, Hugo Martz.

After a three-hour hearing that Cuba requested before the Board of Public Works, Martz said he is confident Hobart Police Chief Jeff White did not have cause to terminate the services of T & K Towing on March 13.

The hearing, which was adjourned because of a power outage at City Hall, was continued to 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"White's legal counsel only offered after-the-fact things and no evidence of any illegal towing or evidence Tony had knowledge of the solicitations to tow to his company," Martz said.

Attorney Daniel Whitten, legal counsel for White, presented another perspective of Cuba with testimony from several police detectives, the police chief's secretary and White.

Martz is seeking to have that testimony — about late monthly payments to the city from T & K Towing, complaints made by a former T & K employee and cash offered but not accepted by a police detective — excluded from the proceedings. 

"It's dredging up things not brought up in the termination letter. It basically piles on. To bring up those things is a violation," Martz said.

White, during his testimony, said his predecessor, former police chief David Evans, had conducted an investigation into T & K Towing that culminated just before he stepped down in late February.

White, as newly named chief in March, ordered a criminal investigation.

"I looked over both investigations," White testified.

At the end of his investigation, White terminated the agreement with T & K Towing citing an inappropriate relationship between the company and four officers.

During questioning by Whitten, White reluctantly released the names of the three officers who received three- to five-day suspensions without pay. He named former Chief Evans and officers Kirk Homoky and Mike Webber.

A fourth officer, Brian Hanson, on June 1 filed a civil lawsuit challenging disciplinary actions against him.

Hanson was accused of soliciting vehicle towing jobs from on-duty officers while he worked part time for T & K Towing.

White said he disciplined Evans because he was negligent in his duties when he didn't take any action following the initial investigation into towing irregularities.

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