Mestre isn't alone. Six months later, Davie-based air conditioner and refrigerator repairman Jay Martin's white work van was towed from the lot at 1504 Alton Road. On June 5, Martin showed up at the Smoothie King there to fix the freezer. A few hours later, Martin told the manager he was going down the street to set up his equipment to fix an AC unit at another business. "When he returned, the van had been taken away by Beach Towing," says Jonathan Kantor, his attorney. "He had to pay $311 to get it back. Jay's got a business to run. He didn't have time to argue or fight with anybody."

Three weeks later, Martin made time to go after Beach Towing in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, claiming the company and the property owner, BB Plaza Ltd., conspired "in a scheme to collect money by towing lawfully parked vehicles."

BB Plaza's attorney, Allan Reiss, told Kantor in an email July 16 that Martin and Smoothie King were to blame. "The premises are clearly marked with multiple signs including those attached stating 'Customer Parking While in Stores Only,'" Reiss wrote. "Accordingly, the owner's representative called Beach Towing and the illegally parked vehicle was towed."

But Kantor and Martin dispute Reiss' assertion. "Beach Towing has an agent beyond the control of BB Plaza who unlawfully called for the tow," Kantor claims. "Jay is really pissed off. He can't take getting screwed over like this."

(Officials for Beach and Tremont declined comment for this article. Andrade, a lobbyist who represents both companies, also did not respond to a list of questions emailed to him.)


Private Lots Disguised as City Lots

A parking lot on 17th Street and Lenox Avenue looks exactly like scores of other, city-run lots nearby. There's a big "Public Parking" sign and an electronic meter, just like all the city devices. Except this lot is operated by Andrew Mirmelli, a private-parking mini-mogul who's hired Tremont Towing to haul away the scores of cars belonging to people who walk across the street to pay a city meter instead of his machine.

Local journalist Kris Conesa (a former New Times staffer) learned that lesson the hard way in late March. Conesa parked his black Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 in Mirmelli's lot on a Saturday during Miami Music Week and, like many others, thought he was in a city lot. He bought a ticket at a meter across the street and stuck it on his dashboard. When he returned to find his car gone, he had to shell out $241 to get it back.

Miami resident Susana Santoro says the same thing happened to her on April 13. "I noticed a huge 'Self Parking — Open to the Public' sign," Santoro groused in a complaint to Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower. "Well it turns out the joke was on me and everyone else that dares park there."

She claims other signs Mirmelli has posted warning people they may get towed are written with letters too small to read from a car. "This sign should be in large caps, not the one that says it is open to the public," she says. "The parking management as well as Tremont Towing are misleading, deceiving, and defrauding people."

That Lenox lot isn't the only Mirmelli property to generate complaints. A month after Santoro's ordeal, on May 11, Adam Mendizabal parked in a Mirmelli lot at 1689 West Ave. Mendizabal says the machine would allow him to purchase only up to one hour even though he intended to stay longer. "I assumed that the lot did not charge after 10 p.m.," Mendizabal says in a complaint. "I returned at 11:30 p.m. to find my car towed. I went to Tremont and they informed me it would cost $241... which is an insane amount."

He called Mirmelli, whose cell number is listed on the lot's signs, to explain that the meter had malfunctioned. "He said his machine was working fine and that I made a mistake," Mendizabal recalls. "This is most likely by design to catch unsuspecting tourists like myself."

There's good reason to believe that Mirmelli and Tremont may have a mutually beneficial relationship. The lot owner was the company's treasurer from December 8, 2011, to March 8, 2012. That same day, his mother, Dierdre Mirmelli, incorporated Tremont Towing Investment LLC, an entity that has invested in a new tow yard. Dierdre Mirmelli and Tremont are even represented by the same SoBe lawyer, Mark Alhadeff.

But Mirmelli denies that he's profiting from Tremont's tows. "I know a lot of people are pissed off," he told New Times in May. "But I'm not in the business of making a buck from towing cars... People simply don't read the signs I've put up."

He says his mother, a 65-year-old retired schoolteacher, invested only in a development project at 1747 Bay Road that would include a new Tremont lot. "She has no involvement in the day-to-day operations of Tremont," Mirmelli says.

He also refutes the claim that he purposely bought the same meter used by the city so it would confuse parkers, noting that he purchased his in 2011, a year before the Miami Beach Parking Department began using the same machine, and calling it "a terrible coincidence."

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15 comments
davcar2009
davcar2009

I lived their in 2001-2002 it wasn't that bad.. I returned in 2011 what a nightmare Parking was .. It 's not just the Tow companies... Miami Dade Parking are total Scum.. Their Policy is $$$..Fuck the TOURIST I will never set foot in South Beach again. Go some where else is my Advice...

FredF
FredF

simple, boycott businesses  that tows


See a towing sign, don't shop there.  ever. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

FOXY BROWN and RED COW are both connected to ALL COUNTY TOWING who is a vendor in BOTH parking lots for those restaurants - so be warned YOU may be subject to unnecessary RISK of exposure to possible PREDITORY TOWING

ASK MANAGEMENT of these establishments how many of their patrons cars were TOWED and under what circumstances BEFORE you go

being overserved and doing the smart thing of taking a cab home leaving YOUR CAR in those lots and you may find your car in the ALL COUNTY TOWING yard nearby the next day - DO NOT EXPECT restaurant management to advise you of this as they may be compensated for both the cab fare and towing charge AT YOUR EXPENSE

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

AMERICAN SOCIAL - YOYO

RED COW - YOYO = WARNING the LOT is monitored by a PREDITORY TOWING operator as defined by CITY OF SUNRISE (ALL COUNTY TOWING) meaning they have many many complaints against them and were responsible for many aggresive towing tactics including BLACK FRIDAY whereby 200 plus cars were towed in a planned operation from the Sawgrass Mills Mall

TAP 42 - VPPA free #65

IL MULINO - VPPA free #50

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

another promotion from AMERICAN SOCIAL which offers PAID PARKING at $10 an hour and UP and NO they do not validate parking so again be aware of the additional cost in your BUDGET to include PARKING (and another reason to maybe go to TAP42 which has an entire parking lot of FREE PARKING !)

see how easy this can be !

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

here for example is RED COW RESTAURANT review with NO MENTION of parking and WHO does the TOWING in their LOT (while directly across the street IL MULINO has ample free parking available !)

RED COW RESTAURANT is just a few miles from the tow yard of ALL COUNTY TOWING

i would suspect this promotion to be really a DEAL to include a $251 towing charge

why should i risk being towed by ALL COUNTY TOWING a publicly identified PREDITORY towing operation here in broward with dozens of complaints in that area when i can PARK RISK FREE elsewhere

SEE HOW EASY it is to infor the PUBLIC

likewise the public SHOULD KNOW who does the towing where they park - IF IT IS ALL COUNTY TOWING chnaces are good you are being spotted as you ARRIVE and will be towed

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

so here is what NT can do for it's readers - EVERY promotion in NT should include detailed information about WHERE TO PARK when going to the EVENT / RESTAURANT / BAR etc ................this way those VENDORs that HAVE PARKING available for thier patron CAN BE REWARDED = period

YOYO = means (Y)ou're (O)n (Y)our (O)wn........and probably will be either TOWED or GOUGED a fee for parking

VPPA free #100 = means (V)endor (P)rovided (P)arking (A)vailable for free with 100 spots

VPPA $$$ #50 = means (V)endor (P)rovided (P)arking (A)vailable for $30 ($ for each $10) with 50 spots

NOGO = means the entire promotion is intended to LURE unsuspecting drivers to park in that open lot across the street that looks to be PUBLIC but is really the reason for the promotion in the first place so budget the extra $241 for the tow and another $58 for the cab ride to the towing yard

EDUCATE YOUR READERs to AVOID THESE SCAMs including CITING those restaurants and bars that HAVE NO AVAILABLE parking ! ! !

the BEST DEFENSE is to EDUCATE US ! ! !

Rich Stroes
Rich Stroes

Yup.. major scumbags.. as is the city that endorse them...drivers are thugs ala Dirty Blondes bouncers. . Simple though...Just ignore So Be..

Brian Bartlett
Brian Bartlett

Easy solution, Forget the fakeness Sobe, just don't go because beers are $15, rum drinks are $20 and every a$$ monkey and gold digger on the planet revolves around SOBE.

George Nemeth
George Nemeth

jennifer lopez is a washed-up mtv slut who represents this tv b.s. Boycott her songs then download them for free. Fat ass!

Tim Kling
Tim Kling

The valet company was a third party company that runs multiple hotels on the strip. The owners were extremely hard to get a hold of and refused to pay for repairs as well. They said that we were parking at our own risk and that as a courtesy the only way that they would fix the car was if I used their specific shop that they have a racket with. Rather than be inconvenienced by leaving my car in Miami for repairs for who knows how long (I live in Broward), we bent the hood down so that it would latch again and I am just living with the damage. As for the LR Disco, I don't know the outcome - lost touch.

Tim Kling
Tim Kling

I did not know that Tremont now has the same owners as the Shelbourne. I valet'ed my Honda Element and my friend's Land Rover Discovery last year at the Shelbourne and BOTH cars came back with appalling damage. The honda's hood was crushed as if it ran into a gate as it was closing and the Discovery's roof rack was ripped off. After multiple phone calls, they refused to pay for repairs.

Sam Smith
Sam Smith

This is crazy!! You gotta love a city that puts up no parking signs and then tows the cars that were legally parked and sends that biz to these horrible companies. I hardly ever go to So. Beach because of these type of behavior. The business in this city that work to attract people should be up in arms.

 
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