Dallas County's Car Czar Vows He'll Make it Easy to Reclaim Cars from Dowdy Ferry Lot

Categories: News, Politics
BobMcGrath_DallasCountyTowing.jpg
Patrick Michels
Dallas County's "Car Czar" Bob McGrath, alongside County Commissioner Clay Jenkins and Sheriff Lupe Valdez.
Dallas County Commissioner Clay Jenkins rounded up reporters this morning to help spread the good word about the county's plan to help owners get reunited with cars impounded at Dowdy Ferry Auto Services.

The county had an auction planned this week for the 1,400 cars still sitting in the lot, where they'd been towed under an exclusive deal struck by former Constable Jaime Cortez.

But after protests from folks who said their cars had auctioned off without their knowledge, or that the lot's fees had gotten too steep for them to pay, Jenkins said the county's going to cap the fees owners owe at $326.85, and put off the auction for at least another three weeks. "No vehicle will be auctioned until all proper notices have been given," Jenkins said.

Then Bob McGrath, the man Jenkins dubbed Dallas County's own Czar de Cars, took the podium, reassuring everyone that over the next three weeks, the county's going to make "one last effort" to track down the cars' owners and reunite them before any auction takes place. While 3,600 other cars have already been auctioned off the lot, McGrath wanted to be clear he's only concerned with the cars that are left there today, and the "boxes and boxes of records" he's got to help track down their owners. "This isn't to suggest that anything has been done wrong in the past," he said.

"It's going to be very easy, I think, to come and get your vehicle," McGrath said -- you'll need a driver's license, proof of insurance, and the car needs to be titled in your name. "If it's their car, we're gonna try like the dickens to get it back to them."

The czar also unveiled a new hotline and email account for owners to get in touch: 214-653-7572, or towedcars@dallascounty.org.

McGrath said April 15 is the earliest the county might hold an auction, though it could be even later than that. He'd been hired originally as an attorney for county commissioners, but from now until his contract runs out on May 2, he'll be handling the cars at Dowdy Ferry. Even if all the cars aren't out of there by then, he said, "I hope to have the process running smoothly, so that maybe when that last car is sold, Judge Jenkins and I can stand there and raise our hands and say we've done a good job."

Commissioner Elba Garcia's office would help with Spanish translation, he said. Any cars that won't run when an owner comes to reclaim them can be towed either for free, or about $20, he said -- McGrath wasn't sure if those details had been settled yet with towing companies.

"I don't like the fact that they've sat out there for four years, but that isn't anybody's fault," McGrath said. "I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved in waiting that long."
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34 comments
TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

This is the biggest racket, or was at least, in Dallas. I had my truck towed, along with about 40 other people in North Dallas, one night at a club. There was no sign designating they could tow from there, and there was a security cart moving around the area. Well, as soon as the lot is full, the army of tow trucks come in and whisk everyone's cars away. They know what they're doing, just like they did when they towed all those cars at the Fair. I don't remember how much I paid, I want to say close to $180 for them to have my truck for all of 2 hours. There were people that couldn't afford that, girls crying, etc..I'd like to be notified somehow if there's a class action lawsuit on this. Can you link an article that was written on the guy that owns Dowdy Ferry, PM? I thought I read it once in the Observer.

Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

Thank Mr. McGrath for giving Dallas County its own "barely legal" slogan."I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved..." is great.

Let's try it.

There's a mayoral debate at TJ Monday & the RNHA didn't want to invite the Black candidate. I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved.

Tom Leppert quit & turned over the mayor's job to some guy whose every lie is for the children.I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved.

The commissioners passed a new code of conduct.I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved.

The Dallas Observer Music Awards will be held later this year than last.I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved.

The new LEGOLAND & the Texas Pinball Festival are in Grapevine not Dallas.I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved.

You get the idea.

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

It is criminal,Mc Grath is between rock and hard place,because someone on the Commissioners Court is deep in this shit up to their neck.I have not heard the other County Judge Price ,say a word on this deal.Dallas County should ask for a Justice Department investigation into this.We have Dallas County Government that allowed two elected Officials to operate a illegal car thief ring in Dallas, using an illegal towing contract, that they did not have legal authority to sign,and nothing was done until Foster found out and spoke up,now I know why Judge Price wanted Foster gone,car ring had been busted. Over 5000 peoples cars towed illegal and people not given opportunity to get back,best cars given to Deputies and other elected Officials,title changed by that little known law under County Tax Assessor,where Judge Price has gone to get titles to cars in private hearing ,so said report in News sometime ago.People have suffered lost jobs and all sorts of other harm from this greed and sad part the County did not make a dime of this money.Four years gone by,nothing. Dallas County has gone to hell stealing cars from poor hard working people.Everyone involved should get life in prison without parole.

JAMES
JAMES

THESE DIRTBAG THIEVES HAVE BEEN STEALING PEOPLES CARS AT GUNPOINT UNDER COLOR OF LAW. EVRY COP WHO ORDERED A CAR IMPOUNDED THERE NEEDS TO BE CHARGED WITH AUTO THEFT AND OFFICIAL REPRESSION. THE ONWERS SHOULD BE FORCED TO PAY EVERYONE PREMIUM RETAIL $$$ FOR EVERY STOLEN CAR ON THEIR WAY OFF TO JAIL. OUR 'JUSTICE SYSTEM' IS A BAD JOKE AND WE THE PEOPLE ARE DAM TIRED OF BEING THE BUTT OF IT.

NealK
NealK

Are McGrath and Sheriff Valdez reenacting "Weekend at Bernie's" with the corpse of Clay Jenkins?

Max
Max

That's quite a nice animatronic Howdy Doody the City of Dallas has there, did we purchase it from Disney world?

???????
???????

This story implies that every car ever impounded was auctioned off or is set to be auctioned,is this right ? No one ever claimed their car after it was impounded ? dang !

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I can't remember his name but the Dowdy Ferry guy is in Dowdy Ferry because he got closed down in Irving for running a chop shop out the back door of his salvage lot. This was just a new place to do the same thing, with the blessing and protection of the county, including the constables, commissioners and the DA.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Plenty of cars have been claimed from the lot -- those stats are just for the ones that nobody claimed before they were auctioned (3,600), or that nobody's claimed yet (1,400).

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I notice Constable Beth Villarreal is conspicuously absent on the dog & pony podium...

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

She still has her integrity and independence; hopefully Royce West will soon have her assimilated into the Borg.

Gangy
Gangy

So far, Beth is keeping her integrity and trying to build bridges with Democratic activists who are loyal to the party bosses. She's not getting as warm a reception as she deserves. I hope she stays on course.

hopefulindallas
hopefulindallas

During an recent candidate endorsement screening, I personally asked Ms Villarreal what makes her different from ALL the other politicians in Dallas County and without batting an eye she replied, "because I don't let politics dictate me as a Constable, but rather I let my job as a Constable dictate my politics" I wish her all the best of luck.

Joanne R
Joanne R

Wylie H.: i don't know who you are...but you damn sure know yo' stuff.I laughed so hard when I read this. Yes, I agree w/ you. it's just a matter of time before even Beth--clean as she is---turns to corruption and greed and cover up.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

JWP earns pretty good scratch so I'm not suggesting he can't afford the high-end cars he owns, but I'd be curious to know if he's getting special "deals" at these auctions.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I seem to recall reading JWP was using those temporary 30-day tags on many of his vehicles (the ones you use when you don't have a title to the car), just like the constables were doing when they refused to say where or how they actually got the (personal) cars they were driving.

By "using" I mean they were requesting and being (re)issued temp tags for their cars every 30 days for long periods of time. It's supposed to be a mechanism to allow you to find the title within 30 days so you can get "real" tags, but there's no limit on repeating the process for one vehicle, a loophole the constables (and JWP) were conveniently exploiting.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

"I'm not suggesting there's anything criminal involved...."---- because, gee, that might imply that the County Commissioners are party to a criminal enterprise and that District Attorney Craig Watkins is aiding and abetting the whole matter by refusing to do his job.

But, hey, we all know how crazy that would be--- Dallas County morphing into a criminal enterprise??? Could never happen!!!

Phelps
Phelps

I'll suggest it. Consider it m-f'in suggested. You're all a pack of criminals, and there needs to be prosecution on 5000 cases of grand theft auto on the tow-company owners, the tow-truck drivers, and the constables and deputies that sent them there.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Is that a cardboard cutout of Clay Jenkins into that pic? or is that just how he looks?

I know, it's hard to tell the difference between him and cardboard sometimes....

Guest
Guest

Cardboard has more personality.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Why does Jankins always have a deer in the headlights look on his face?

Jay
Jay

There is a serious stench surrounding this whole episode.

Paul
Paul

The problem is that we are having way too much problem with this new whipper snapper, Beth Villarreal. We had things goin' pretty good for a number of years. Then that ol' koot, Foster, shook things up for us. Even had the audacity to stand up to our top protection squad, JWP.

Well, I'm here to tell you we did have some work finding that puppet boy, Clay Jenkins, and then what with the way he didn't win enough primary votes first go around....missed it by about 100 votes and had to do a run-off that cost more money. But in the end we got the reins back in order so we can do what we please now with full control of every single office.

And, if any elected politicians don't go with the flow, overlook the coverups and scams, well we'll just strip down their operating budget until they learn to behave and tow the line.

But, I gotta tell you boys, we got our hands full with this hussy, Beth Villarreal. Didn't anyone get over there and show her a money envelope to buy her silence. She's causing me a pain and I'm sick o' all these here problems.

Somebody go do somethin'.

RS1963
RS1963

Is Lawyer Jenkins the reason McGrath kept repeating over and over that no one was pointing fingers at anyone, no one said anything had been done wrong in the past, etc?

Implausible deniability is what is sounds like to me!

Is the Dallas Democratic party STILL protecting the two constables that are the cause of all of this? It sounds to me like the new constable who has been trying to clear all this up is the only one thinking straight.

It IS nice that they are at least trying to make sure that what's there currently is legal, for what that's worth.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

As others have stated, the problem with the constables investigation is that once you start pulling on that string, you find it leading to too many other prominent Dallasites who are tight with the powers that be. That's one of the reasons the DMN was so eager to get Foster out. Although he may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer, he wasn't owned by anyone, didn't owe anyone any favors, and didn't have any dirt in his past that could be used to blackmail him into doing the bidding of the machine.

Gangy
Gangy

It's not the Dallas County Democratic Party, it is a group of very influential Democrats who are participating in this who are orchestrating all the moves to protect their own behinds.

Jay
Jay

I believe the reason the DA, the county judge and the commissioner don't want to dig too deeply into this mess concerns the political prominence, and direct involvement, of some of the attorneys for the main players. Is the any doubt that Jenkins' next public statement on this subject will be "we need to all just move on.....".

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I don't think it's the Democratic Party protecting them as much as it is the (Democrats on the) Dallas County Commissioner's Court protecting them.

There's a whole lotta dirt under their rugs...

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Serious serious stench. We're talkin' Trinity river water stench here.

To stick your (head) in the sand and proclaim you're not concerned with the disappearance of the other 3600 cars, or that this entire mess "isn't anybody's fault" is beyond comprehension.

FWIW ol' Jaime still has Constable plates, light bars and push bars on his car - why is that?

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Because Craig Watkins doesn't care.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

If he doesn't care about this it means he doesn't care about black people(thanks Kanye!)

Phelps
Phelps

Because he's a criminal.

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