Jump to content
  • Join the TowForce community.

    It looks like you're not logged in. Register to get started and to receive Tower Down Notices.

Company goes after city hall over alleged collusion by tow foe


Recommended Posts

Company goes after city hall over alleged collusion by tow foe

Published on: January 19, 2018 | Last Updated: January 21, 2018 3:10 PM EST


An Ottawa towing company claims a competitor has been conspiring to win municipal government contracts and city hall is doing nothing about it.

Gervais Motors lays much of the blame on the City of Ottawa in its lawsuit filed at Superior Court. The company, which started in 1934, claims damages totalling more than $5 million in “lost profits.”

The lawsuit also names as defendants Ottawa Metro Towing and Recovery Inc. and Metro Towing and Recovery Group Inc., two companies that Gervais says share the same ownership.

The accusation is at the core of Gervais’ bid-rigging allegation that the two companies colluded to win city towing contracts.

A manager at Gervais said the company has no further comment on its lawsuit.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The chief executive of Metro Tow Trucks, Webb Wehbe, couldn’t be reached for comment by phone or email. The Wehbe family has been in charge of the Metro towing businesses.

City of Ottawa clerk and solicitor Rick O’Connor said the city can’t comment because the case is in the courts.

The city said it last awarded standing offer contracts to Ottawa Metro Towing and Recovery and Gervais for citywide towing of illegally parked vehicles.

Separate from that, the Ottawa Police Service awarded contracts to Ottawa Metro Towing and Recovery Inc. for the east zone and Metro Towing and Recovery Group for the west zone, the city said.

In its statement of claim, Gervais says its complaint dates back about 15 years to when the city reduced the number of tow contract zones to three, with one company only eligible to have one of the zone contracts. According to Gervais, Ottawa Metro Towing and Recovery incorporated a new company, Metro Towing and Recovery, around the time of the city zone changes. The Metro companies are referred to as Metro East and Metro West, respectively, in the Gervais lawsuit.

An Ottawa police tow contract competition in 2005 ended with Gervais winning the central zone, Metro East winning the east and Metro West winning the west.

That didn’t make Gervais happy because it believed Metro East and Metro West had the “same operating minds” with some of the same directors, the lawsuit says.

Gervais says similar bidding has happened with other city towing contracts. The last police towing tender awarded contracts for the east and west zones, and Metro East and Metro West had the low bids in their respective areas, the lawsuit says.

The city made it clear it wanted to have different tow contractors per zone and the rules of the contract competition disallowed collusion, Gervais says.

Metro East and Metro West tow vehicles to each other’s compound, have the same employees and have the same insurance company with the same policy number, Gervais alleges.

According to Gervais, the city “knew or should have known that Metro East and Metro West were colluding, engaging in bid-rigging and failed to disclose conflicts of interest.”

Casting itself as the target of the alleged conspiracy, Gervais says taxpayers are also losing out if collusion is involved in the competition for city towing contracts.

In addition to the $5 million in allegedly lost profits, Gervais’s lawsuit claims $1 million in special damages and another $100,000 in punitive damages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...
Please Sign In or Sign Up