Towing for Dollars in Alameda 

Since 2013, more than 1,400 vehicles have been towed from one West End apartment complex by one company: PPI Towing.

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click to enlarge PPI's owner, Wayne F. Russo (left), did not return calls and emails for this report.  - PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK
  • Photo from Facebook
  • PPI's owner, Wayne F. Russo (left), did not return calls and emails for this report. 

It's difficult to determine if the vehicles towed from Summer House belong to residents or guests, or how many people have had their vehicles improperly removed or were charged excessive fees, but the towing situation has impacted quality of life in the neighborhood. Due to the high costs of rent, residents often double up to afford costs. But with just one parking permit being allocated per unit, some Summer House residents must park blocks away to avoid being towed by PPI.

Residents also report challenges with obtaining guest passes, which requires them to leave their buildings and walk to the outside gates of the property to let their guests in. In a phone interview from out of state, Jenkins said the PPI towing costs are forcing him to move. "The location of Summer House is convenient, but I want to get out of that place," he said.

Others have sought recourse with PPI through the courts. At least a dozen lawsuits have been filed against the company since 2012. The claims against PPI vary. One suit alleged that PPI engaged in "illegal towing practices"; while a soccer dad was awarded over $7,000 — including money for lost work wages and missing kid's soccer practice — when his car was removed from a parking spot.

So far, Helen Menasche, fiancee of Gene Tsar, is the first and only Summer House resident to file a lawsuit against PPI. In court records, Menasche claimed $487.50 for the fees for her and Tsar's car being towed in October 2017. Days before their scheduled small claims hearing, Russo requested a postponement. The couple moved to Southern California shortly after. On Oct. 10, a judge dismissed the suit, when Menasche did not appear in court.

In September, she told the Express that the cost of missing work and traveling back to the Bay Area to confront PPI was not worth the money.


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