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Lincoln Towing’s license revoked but company vows to appeal—and continue to tow

A man swings a plastic bag over his shoulder while walking past Lincoln Towing Service on North Clark in Chicago. | Sun-Times file photo

The towing company Chicagoans have loved to hate for decades had its license abruptly yanked Wednesday by the state commerce commission.

Lincoln Towing was immortalized in Steve Goodman’s 1972 folk song “Lincoln Park Pirates” that parodied its permanence with the line “there’s no car too heavy and no one can make us shut down.”

But the Illinois Commerce Commission did just that in a 5-0 vote to revoke Lincoln Towing’s vehicle relocation license, effective immediately.

Chairman Brien Sheahan said at Wednesday’s meeting that a “preponderance of … evidence” showed Lincoln Towing “has not conducted its business with honesty and integrity, [and] that it is — in fact — unworthy to be entitled to hold a Commercial Vehicle Relocators License,” according to prepared remarks provided by the ICC.

The action was the culmination of a two-year investigation that started in 2016, ICC spokeswoman Victoria Crawford said. The probe looked into allegations of 462 unauthorized tows and 369 instances where the company used an unlicensed operator in an eight-month span between 2015-2016.

“This is a victory for Chicago residents and visitors who’ve been wrongly towed,” Crawford said.

Still, Allen Perl, an attorney representing Lincoln Towing, told the Sun-Times that Lincoln Towing planned to fight the ruling — and said the company expected to keep operating while the case moves through the appeals process.

“Lincoln Towing will be filing the appropriate motion for a rehearing in the Commerce Commission. If not successful, we’ll go to [Cook County] Circuit Court,” Perl said. “It’s our position that we will be allowed to remain open during the appeal process.”

Crawford disagreed. The order became official at 3:04 p.m. when Lincoln Towing was served electronically with a notice of their license revocation, she said.

The company has offices at 4882 N. Clark St. and 4601 W. Armitage Ave. The Clark Street location is in the ward of Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th). The longtime critic of Lincoln Towing celebrated the decision to revoke its license on Twitter moments after the ruling:

“We are all the little guy in this story. And today, the little guy won,” Pawar tweeted later on Wednesday, thanking Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) for joining his efforts to push back against the towing company.

Contributing: Mitchell Armentrout, Alexandra Arriaga