Detroit alleges ‘significant’ fraud by towing magnate
Detroit officials said Tuesday in a federal court filing that towing magnate Gasper Fiore has committed “significant fraudulent and criminal conduct” against the city, arguing he should appear for a deposition.
The city on Tuesday filed a motion to compel Fiore to testify. “Gasper Fiore is a pivotal witness in this action,” city attorneys wrote. “His deposition is vital to the advancement of this case.
“Gasper Fiore, with help from his wife Joan Fiore, and daughters Jennifer Fiore and Jessica Lucas, ... conspired to commit, and committed, fraud and tax evasion against the City of Detroit,” the filing said.
Fiore’s attorney Nicholas Bachand said: “I don’t represent him personally in regards to the criminal action.” When asked who did represent Fiore in the case, Bachand, who often attends Board of Police Commissioner meetings where towing issues are discussed, said: “I don’t know at this point.”
Fiore’s outfit for years was among the companies that towed for the police department, but after he was indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in a Macomb County bribery scheme involving Rizzo Environmental Services, Detroit officials dropped the family-owned firm from their towing rotation.
Boulevard & Trumbull Towing Inc. sued, claiming the police board did not provide a reason for the suspension or an opportunity to appeal.
The suit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, says the board “actively concealed information from the company and the public” by not placing the company’s permit on the agenda and by voting to drop Boulevard & Trumbull from the rotation in a closed session.
In the city’s filing Tuesday, attorneys say Fiore has avoided being deposed.
“The reason for the refusal to produce Gasper Fiore for his deposition is nonsensical,” the city’s filing said. “It is not based on fact and is not based on law. Plaintiff’s counsel professes that he does not represent Gasper Fiore when in truth he does.”
In an attachment to Tuesday’s motion, city officials said they want Fiore to bring his tax returns, bank records, purchase agreements “or other documents evidencing the ownership or transfer of ownership of B&T Towing to any individual or or entity from B&T’s inception through the present.”
The city also wants Fiore to produce all correspondence he’s had with Detroit police, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Highland Park police “or any other police agency.”
Also requested in the motion: That Fiore produce “any and all documents evidencing any payments you have made or financial incentives you have offered to any individual or entity in exchange for information or tips on stolen vehicles.”
In a separate filing last month, city officials said Fiore has an interest in Nationwide Recovery Inc., which they said was involved in an “elaborate” stolen car scheme.
The city claimed in the filing that Nationwide orchestrated the theft of vehicles, which were towed to the firm’s east-side lot.