The captain for the Jackson District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol recently determined that a towing company should be removed from the patrol rotation’s list after it overcharged an OOIDA member more than $29,000.
Curtis Mansfield Jr. ruled on Feb. 21 that Koenigs towing company be removed from Jackson District’s rotation list after receiving its third severe violation in five years. Barring an appeal to the Field Operations Bureau Lt. Col., the determination will take effect on March 15.
Mansfield’s decision came after an investigation revealed that Koenigs overcharged OOIDA Member Noel Williams by an amount of $29,146.28 for a tow and recovery on June 9, 2016. The original invoice was $44,553.75.
OOIDA, which insures Williams, filed the complaint on his behalf.
According to the highway patrol, which is under the umbrella of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Koenigs failed to respond to early requests for it to show justification for the charges.
At the pre-removal hearing, Koenigs owner Ronald Koenig said the cleanup was none of the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s business because he had a separate contract with PECO Foods, the owner of the load. The follow-up investigation revealed that there wasn’t a separate financial agreement between PECO Foods and Koenigs.
Koenig also testified that the incident taking place “directly above the water retention pond for the City of Savannah” was a big cause for concern. However, it was determined that the water for the City of Savannah is located about 14 miles from the crash scene.
“Koenigs has repeatedly demonstrated a complete disregard for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Towing Service Manual,” Mansfield wrote. “Koenigs did not provide any factual documentation during the pre-removal hearing for consideration.”
The ruling prevents Koenigs from being on the district’s highway patrol rotation for heavy-duty and light-duty tows.
“We’re very appreciative of the Tennessee Highway Patrol for taking this case seriously and doing quite a bit of work on it,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs. “They put a lot of time into this investigation. We’d love to see other law enforcement agencies do that kind of thing.”
OOIDA will likely have to file a separate lawsuit in order to get the overcharged money refunded.
“The bigger point is making sure that companies like Koenigs can’t do this to our members again,” Matousek said. “From our perspective, the best outcome in this case is that Koenigs will most likely lose its opportunity to overcharge our members. That’s why we do this.”
Editor’s note: A Tennessee Highway Patrol district captain determined in February that Koenigs towing company be removed from the patrol’s rotation. A previous version of the article reported a Tennessee commission made the ruling.