Hudson County officials are accusing a North Bergen Union Turnpike towing company of trying to dupe the county into giving it business, and the firm may now be blacklisted from winning future contracts with the county.
Four companies owned or co-owned by John’s Main Auto Body owner John Appello submitted proposals to win spots in Hudson County’s tow rotation list, even though county officials had said only one company owned or controlled by an individual would be allowed to submit proposals.
In a July 3 memo obtained by The Jersey Journal, Hudson County Counsel Donato Battista calls Appello’s actions a “concerted scheme” to win more business with the county. County lawyers are investigating whether Appello’s companies can now be “disbarred” from doing business with the county, the memo reads.
The four companies are John’s Main Towing, John’s Main Auto Body, Main Garage Corp. and Planet Towing. According to Battista’s memo, Appello is a principal in all four.
Appello, 53, denies he did anything wrong. Speaking by phone to The Jersey Journal, he said all four companies are valid businesses that should have a shot to tow vehicles for the county. He did not dispute that he owns or co-owns all of them.
“I’m not that clever that I would be able to fool the county,” Appello said.
Seven companies in total submitted proposals to get into the county rotation, and all four of Appello’s firms were disqualified. A fifth, Truchan’s Towing, of Jersey City, was also rejected for failure to submit required material, according to Battista’s memo.
County spokesman Jim Kennelly said county officials plan to assist with a criminal prosecution “to deter future attempts at this sort of thing.” Appello declined to respond to the threat of criminal charges.
“I can’t really comment on that,” he said. “You’re telling me something I haven’t heard.”