Sunday, March 1, 2015

Activists Accuse Royal Coaches of Profiting From The Undocumented

They say that Royal Coaches is really the "Robbing Coaches"
Royal Coaches Tow Truck Parading Next to the El Monte Police Department in October
Photo and Article by: Isaías Alvarado
Translation by: Paul Cook

In Baldwin Park, the activist mock and nickname [Baldwin Park's official tow company], Royal Coaches, "Robbing Coaches."
According to activists, the tow company has taken advantage of immigrants in the San Gabriel Valley, where it has contracts with four cities and the insurance company AAA.

"Royal Coaches preys on the undocumented, who are afraid and don't fight back," said attorney, Paul Cook, who has represented immigrants who have had their cars impounded in the Royal Coaches' tow yard.

In Baldwin Park, Royal Coaches maximized its profits by continually setting up police DUI checkpoints. In 2009 alone, the city received a 25% commission on the $1.2 million revenue earned from selling the captured cars, more than any other city in the region. 

"They are exploiting our community by stealing cars," said the activist Silvia Villanueva.

In late 2013, the city seized dozens of cars and their drivers - almost all of them undocumented - whom were detained for several house because the police refused to acknowledge their foreign driver's licenses.

Accustomed to donating to various political candidates in Baldwin Park, Royal Coaches also donated $500 in 2011 to now deputy mayor of El Monte [the neighboring City looking for a new tow company], Bart Patel, according to official reports.

Patel and the other [El Monte City] Councillors decide in a few days if Royal Coaches will be awarded the contract, El Monte's Albert's Towing once had but has been rescinded, after it was discovered that it committed various misconduct.

Patel said through his spokesperson, Xavier Hermosillo, that the contributions are legal and ethical. "It's not illegal to vote for someone who gives a contribution. It's only illegal or unethical if its not reported or if its used for personal gain," he said. 

Although undocumented workers can now obtain driver's licenses, activists say there are many in the San Gabriel Valley who have not gone through the process. This business, they say, is not over.

Original Article Here: 

They Steal The Little We've Earned [Testimonials]

Rafael Ortiz is a mechanic who lost his truck in the Royal Coaches's towyard in 2013 because he could not pay the fee of over $2,000 that he was charged for the city seizing his car. Police pulled him over for not having a driver's license.

"Now that its gone, it's affected me because it was the car I used to go to work," said the native of the Mexican state of Nayarit.

Ortiz's wife and brother were stopped at the dreaded Baldwin Park checkpoint. "The police took my wife's car, sold it, and they still charged her $300," Ortiz said.

"Roberto," (who has changed his name for fear of city retaliation), was one of Royal Coaches's "client." He said that in eight years, their family had their car confiscated three times for being unlicensed and paid $3,600 in total.

"What the company is doing is unfair to everyone who cannot get licenses [which at the time was not possible]," he said.

The last seizure, told "Roberto," happened in November and he paid $600 for the storage and towing fees for his truck. [It was only one night.] He could've used that money to pay the rent, which he then had to borrow.

"The little guy ends up paying for the City bills, which is stealing from us," said the twenty year Baldwin Park resident. "When Royal Coaches goes to El Monte, they'll do the same thing there."

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