May 21, 2007
Clayton, Mo. — The owner of a Wellston towing and storage business sued by Attorney General Jay Nixon has been ordered to pay more than $91,000 to consumers and the state, and is barred from having any connection with the towing or storage business for 10 years. The order for payment of $91,528.80 includes $62,630 to 110 consumers who paid too much for towing and storage or did not have their vehicles returned to them because the vehicles had been sold.
St. Louis County Circuit Judge Bernhardt Drumm Jr. entered his order today against Bruce Gales, the owner of Galez Towing and Recovery. Nixon sued Gales and his business in October 2004 after dozens of consumers complained of having to pay bills for towing and storage of as much as $600 or, in some cases, having their vehicles sold by Galez Towing even though the business did not have a valid title.
"Bruce Gales and his business caused a multitude of problems for many people in the St. Louis area," Nixon said. "This judgment addresses many of those problems."
Judge Drumm found that the defendants violated Missouri consumer protection laws by:
In addition to the $62,630 in consumer restitution, Gales was ordered to pay $17,635.80 to the state for its costs of investigation and prosecution; $6,263 to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund; and a civil penalty of $5,000. For the next 10 years, he can only be employed where he has no control over business decisions and he cannot take any money from anyone in a commercial context.