Tower Village cracks down on parking

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Senior Max Van Schaijik walks toward his car parked in a Tower Village parking lot. Photo by Kaity Chaikowsky.

In January, Tower Village Apartments emailed residents a notice that they must renew the free parking permits on their vehicles. Without it, Black Bull Towing has been hauling the cars away.

The University News reached out to Tower Village representative Janakay Mobarak for comment, but she has not responded.

Junior Danny Amorella’s car was towed on Thursday, Feb. 28, and he was refused service to pick up his car that night, he wrote in a message. Sure Storage, the a different company holding his vehicle, told Amorella over the phone that they do not permit any customers after dark.

The next morning, Amorella arrived at the address of Sure Storage “in the middle of a very industrial area of Dallas,” Amorella wrote. According to Amorella, the buildings themselves say nothing about Black Bull Towing.

The company also refused Amorella’s insurance card because it was under his father’s name rather than his own. The company informed him the car could only be released to his father as the policyholder, according to Amorella.

“My dad … lives across the country,” Amorella wrote. “Obviously that wasn’t an option, so I had to call my insurance and they had to create a new insurance card.”

“The fact that the car is insured at all should be the issue, not whose name is on the policy,” Amorella wrote. “I’m not a lawyer, but it seems highly suspicious.”

Black Bull Towing currently has a 1.3-star rating from 312 Google reviews. Above all, the reviews complain of damaged vehicles, unprofessional employees and the illegal towing of vehicles.

In 2018, Black Bull Towing was fined over $10,000 for repeatedly towing cars illegally, especially from apartment complexes, according to an Apr. 1, 2018 article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

According to this same article, Black Bull Towing is owned by Aaron Huhem. His brother, Victor Huhem, is the founder of Huhem Law Firm, which represents apartment landlords. The article states that Victor Huhem was his brother’s attorney, but also shares business contracts with Black Bull Towing.

The Black Bull Towing phone number provided online calls a Sure Storage desk. Jen, a Sure Storage customer service representative who declined to give her full name, said she did not know how to contact any Black Bull Towing personnel.

Jen also said that a number of tow truck companies use Sure Storage to park towed vehicles. When asked for any records concerning Tower Village, Jen said Sure Storage does not keep records of towed vehicles.

Jen added that it would be “impossible” to record how many towing companies store cars on their site.

At another Dallas Sure Storage phone number, an Aaron Huhem is listed as contact and principle. The Sure Storage employee that answered the phone, who also declined to give her name, said she knew no one at the company by that name.

Amorella paid Sure Storage $300 to leave with his car, eight hours after it had been towed. His future hopes of parking beyond the reach of a tow truck, however, are insecure.

“I cannot get a parking pass, because my name is not on my apartment’s lease,” Amorella wrote. Tower Village apartments allow up to three names on a lease, all of whom have a right to a free parking pass for residential spaces. So Amorella has started parking in visitor spaces.

“The threat of towing has always been present, but was, at best, sporadically enforced,” Amorella wrote. “Last semester I parked in resident parking spots all the time.”

Now, parking has become more challenging.

“In the past, there [were] always lots of visitor spots available,” Amorella continued. “But I think because Tower Village has become more strict at parking enforcement, lots of people who don’t have official resident parking passes have now been filling up the visitor spots.”

University of Dallas senior Jeremiah Sullivan had been parking in the visitor section of Tower Village until it was full one evening. On Mar. 19 at 9 p.m., his car was towed for parking in a residential spot without a sticker.

“At the end of the day, it was my fault that I got towed,” Sullivan wrote in a message.

Later that evening, and $300 dollars later, Sullivan retrieved his vehicle from Sure Storage.

Amorella wrote that students living in Tower Village with a situation like his own will be forced to look for places to park on campus, in condo visitor spots or even at PDK.

“PDK would be my first choice,” Amorella wrote.

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