Councillors open to going to court after Winnipeg billed $1.1M for tows that never happened

Several city councillors think the City of Winnipeg should go to court if necessary to get back the money owed by a local tow truck company.

A city report is recommending council sign off on a settlement that would see Tartan Towing pay $446,250 after the city said it discovered it was billed for $1.1 million of tows that never happened between 2016 and 2021.

The report is recommending recouping less than half of the $1.1 million to avoid court and legal costs, and to maintain a working relationship with Tartan.

Last week, Coun. Janice Lukes, a member of the mayor’s executive policy committee (EPC), questioned why the city is not going after the full amount.

EPC is set to vote on the report Monday, with another member, Coun. John Orlikow, saying he is ready to reject the recommendation and head to court.

“The optics for the taxpayer about getting value back, you know, that’s actually resonating quite loudly,” Orlikow said.

He and Coun. Matt Allard worry about the precedent of not going after the money.

Allard said the city needs to send a message, and heading to court is the way to do it.

“We should have the reputation of a city that expects to get what we pay for,” Allard said.

The report says Tartan let go some of the drivers involved with the “invalid” tows.

The city has said no claim has been made that Tartan knowingly overcharged the city.

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