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Aguilar says Timoney's decision to post bail for his son is just the latest example of the chief's unethical behavior. According to Miami Police rules and regulations, officers and civilian employees "shall not become surety or guarantor or furnish bail for any person arrested for a crime except upon authorization of his commanding officer." In the case of the chief, there was no one to go to for permission but himself.

And that, Aguilar says, is not fair, considering Timoney fired two black female cops for allegedly violating a rule that prohibited them from marrying convicted felons. One of those officers, April Hardemon, appealed the chief's decision and won her job back.

Timoney declined comment, but police spokesman Delrish Moss says the chief is not breaching the department's bail ban. "For one, it doesn't apply to blood relatives," Moss explains. "Secondly, permission has to be granted by the commanding officer. [Timoney] is the commanding officer."


Flotsam

Tow Jam

While you get towed, Miami Beach gets paid.

By Natalie O'Neill

In Miami Beach, few businesses are loathed as much as the city's two aggressive towing companies: Tremont Towing and Beach Towing. Dan Sostheim's story won't help their popularity.

A few weeks ago, the South Beach transplant parked his bright orange Hummer H2 on Meridian Avenue around midnight. He didn't know his residential parking pass had just expired. When he returned to get the vehicle the next morning, it was gone.

He made a few phone calls, found out Tremont took the truck, and headed over to the shop on Bay Road. Employees informed him that in order to claim it, he'd have to pay a fee and show a current registration or title.

But when he reached into his glove compartment for the papers, he found the registration was "mysteriously missing."

With no papers, the company would be able to hold his automobile at a storage fee of $26.70 per day until he could prove it was his. For Sostheim, this meant racking up more charges over the weekend, until the DMV opened Monday. He suspected foul play.

"The whole thing stinks from top to bottom," he tells Riptide.

So Sostheim called Miami Beach Police to the scene to help him verify the truck was indeed his. When police arrived, an officer told him there was nothing he could do because the conflict was a civil matter. "How can the police department be trumped by a towing company?" Sostheim says. "It doesn't make sense."

Since January 1, eight reports have been made with the MBPD over stolen items at Tremont; 10 if you count informal phone calls. Overall incident reports at that address in the same period add up to 286 — or about 1.7 per day.

Sgt. Wayne Jones says the numbers don't surprise him. "It's a towing company. It would be unfair to single out one as worse than the other," he says.

Tremont management argues proof of ownership should be easily faxed by an insurance company. "There are cameras everywhere. There's no reason for us to steal," says Euidu, a 15-year employee of Tremont who wouldn't give his last name.

Since 2002, the City of Miami Beach has collected $25 for every car towed on public property. The money goes back to the city's parking fund to pay for things such as road maintenance, street signs, and employee salaries. Sostheim says the policy encourages the city to look the other way when towing companies are abusive.

"Nobody's thinking of the people who live on this little island," he says. "I'm moving. It's too ridiculous."

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