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Lincoln Towing sues ICC over ‘unenforceable’ and ‘dangerous’ license revocation

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

Chicago’s most infamous towing company is not going down without a fight — at least, in court.

On Thursday, Lincoln Towing filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court arguing that the state commerce commission’s swift revocation of its towing license is “unenforceable,” spells an “imminent and dangerous” disruption to business and will cause harm to the public.

The lawsuit came a day after the Illinois Commerce Commission yanked Lincoln Towing’s license in a unanimous vote, closing the curtain on a company that’s been a nemesis of Chicago drivers for decades.

But the company believes the revocation, effective immediately, would wreak havoc on the city, according to the lawsuit. It seeks to halt the ICC decision pending the commission’s appeals process or a court ruling.

A judge did not rule on the temporary restraining order on Thursday, with another hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, according to Illinois Commerce Commission spokeswoman Victoria Crawford.

The lawsuit alleges owners of parking lots contracted with Lincoln Towing — over 10,000 — will be stuck with unauthorized vehicles that park there. The result, the suit says, would be “actual, physical violence.”

“Media reports have published articles about the order, sparking chaos throughout the city,” the suit says. “As a result, motorists now believe they can park in any lot in Lakeview … and lot owners would have absolutely no recourse.”

ICC’s Wednesday decision came on the heels of a two-year investigation that included 462 allegations of unauthorized tows in an eight-month period — and to the cheers of Chicagoans ranging from aldermen to the popular Twitter personality “Chicago Party Aunt.”

The commission did not respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit Thursday. During Wednesday’s meeting, ICC chairman Brien Sheahan said the company was barred from towing because it “has not conducted its business with honesty and integrity.”

The order was served to Lincoln Towing at 3:04 p.m., officially deeming any vehicle seizure after that an illegal tow, officials said.

But for Lincoln Towing, which has offices at 4882 N. Clark St. and 4601 W. Armitage Ave., the tow must go on.

“It’s our position that we will be allowed to remain open during the appeal process,” said Allen Perl, the company’s attorney.

Mitchell Armentrout and Alexandra Arriaga contributed reporting.