State sues parking boot companies

State sues parking boot companies
Published: May. 30, 2013 at 10:29 PM HST|Updated: May. 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A company that specializes in booting cars is hit with a civil lawsuit. The state is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop what it calls an illegal practice.

In the complaint filed today the State Office of Consumer Protection argues towing is the only legal way to deal with an unauthorized parked car which is why it wants to stop parking boot companies from operating.

Fernando Carazo isn't happy. He is the latest person to get the boot on his car and have to pay $160 cash on the spot to get it taken off. He slammed his hand on the table and yelled at the Hawaii Boot Removal employee who put on the boot on his car. The employee left before there was a fight.

"I'm just so mad I can't believe it," said Fernando Carazo, North Shore. "I think it is illegal. He is taking advantage of people."

The Office of Consumer Protection agrees. Thursday it filed a civil lawsuit against the people involved in booting and is asking a judge to grant a temporary restraining order to stop the booting immediately. It also wants victims to be refunded.

"It looks like this complaint is extremely politically motivated and after reviewing the complaint it is my opinion it is frivolous," said Megan Kau, Attorney.

Kau helped Hawaii Boot Removal through the state's investigation and may represent the company in the lawsuit as well.

"The fact this complaint is filed now is shocking to me. It's inappropriate," said Kau.

Inappropriate she says because there is a bill on the Governor's desk right now that if signed would prohibit booting completely. She believes the lawsuit is an attempt to sway the public and the Governor.

"You file the complaint it lends you more credibility that what you are saying is true. That's not necessarily true but that's what people believe. If there was a lawsuit filed it must be true. That's not always the case," said Kau.

"I would intend on fighting this completely. There will be no settlement because these allegations are completely frivolous."

"I feel I was robbed in the first place. I couldn't believe it," said Carazo. "I just parked there. I was going to do business in his area. I was going to eat taco."

We'll see if a judge or the Governor prevents any more people from feeling like Fernando.

A judge is expected to rule on the temporary restraining order next week. Governor Neil Abercrombie has until July 9 to approve or veto the bill that would outlaw booting.

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