Credit: Illustration by Emily Flake

Today, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs announced in a press release that the notorious Youngin’s Towing is no longer in business.

The company’s appeal to the city’s Office of Administrative Hearings failed today, and Youngin’s is now barred from “operating a towing business or a towing storage facility.”

Anyone who has their car currently impounded at Youngin’s Montana Avenue NE lot are “asked to make arrangements to retrieve their cars immediately,” according to the release.

The ballad of Youngin’s should be intimately familiar to readers of City Paper and City Desk. Owner James W. Gee has attracted numerous lawsuits alleging abusive behavior, illegally impounding vehicles, and, in one case, illegally scrapping a vehicle. The city’s on his ass because he failed to notify DPW that he’d made tows and refused to take anything but cash from towees trying to get their cars back.

And make no mistake that Youngin’s was still in business before today: Last Friday evening, I was riding down Rhode Island Avenue NE when a slick Youngin’s tow truck pulled beside me, car on its hook.

Full press release after the jump.

Illustration by Emily Flake

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Takes Action: Youngin’s Towing Must Shut Down

(Washington, DC) Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Director Linda K. Argo today announced that the agency has been successful in its quest to revoke two Basic Business Licenses for Youngin’s Towing and Auto Body, located at 1940 Montana Avenue NE. Youngin’s will also have to pay a $1,500 fine.

DCRA issued a notice to revoke the towing company’s business licenses on April 27, 2007 based on investigations into six public complaints against the company over a five-month period. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld DCRA’s revocation today and rejected Youngin’s appeal of the agency’s action. The revocation prevents Youngin’s from operating a towing business or a towing storage facility. Previously, the Superior Court granted an injunction against the company pending the outcome of the OAH proceedings.

Youngin’s was cited for multiple violations of District Municipal Regulations. The company also violated District law by requiring payment in cash – District law says that checks and credit cards must be accepted. In another case, Youngin’s Towing was accused of towing and selling a vehicle for scrap without the owner’s knowledge.

Among the reasons the Office of Administrative Hearings cited in upholding DCRA’s request to revoke the Basic Business License:

  • Not complying with District towing laws.
  • Charging more than allowed for tows under District law.
  • Not paying vehicle owners for damages to their vehicles caused by Youngin’s.
  • Not giving vehicle owners a printed copy of the “Owner’s Bill of Rights for Towed Vehicles” as required by District regulations.

“District residents, businesses and visitors must be assured that they can depend on our businesses to treat them fairly and according to our laws,” said Linda K. Argo, DCRA Director. “Businesses that violate public trust will be held accountable. We’ll use all the tools at our disposal to make sure they operate legally or we’ll shut them down. I also want to acknowledge the work and the support of the Office of the Attorney General as we moved to protect consumers against a business that preyed on vulnerable vehicle owners.”

The specifics of the charges upheld by the Office of Administrative Hearings are below:

  • November 5, 2006: Failing to promptly release a vehicle to the owner after receiving proof of identity and payment, requiring payment in cash, failing to provide the “Owner’s Bill of Rights for Towed Vehicles,” failing to contact the Department of Public Works prior to releasing the vehicle to the owner.
  • January 10, 2007: Failure to compensate vehicle owner for damage to vehicle caused by towing company, improperly using public street space for vehicle storage.
  • January 24, 2007: Requiring payment in cash, failing to provide the “Owner’s Bill of Rights for Towed Vehicles.”
  • January 29, 2007: Failing to contact the Department of Public Works prior to releasing the vehicle to the owner.
  • February 12, 2007: Failing to contact the Department of Public Works prior to releasing the vehicle to the owner.
  • March 21, 2007: Charging an excessive rate for a public tow, failing to promptly release a vehicle to the owner after receiving proof of identity and payment, failing to provide the “Owner’s Bill of Rights for Towed Vehicles.”

Any vehicle owners who have cars stored at Youngin’s are asked to make arrangements to retrieve their cars immediately. The revocation prevents Youngin’s from conducting public or private tows; including towing services from private property.