The Department of Licensing's charges against Engle's Towing could put its owner, Bonney Lake municipal Judge Ron Heslop, out of business. Now the state wants his license revoked permanently.
Christine Anthony from the Department of Licensing said “Engle's Towing has continually demonstrated their lack of understanding of state towing laws and they are putting the public at risk and that is something we can't ignore.”
Among the new charges, the state said Engle's was overcharging towing and storage. The state also alleged that the judge was promising cut rate legal services if property owners hired his towing company.
Offering any incentives to property owners for tows is illegal in Washington. And there's more, according to Anthony.
“He was failing to remit surplus funds from the state from the sale of auctioned cars back to the state as required by state law,” said Anthony.
Heslop denies these charges levied by the state. But this isn't Engel's Towing's first legal rodeo. The company's been hit with more than $20,000 in penalties from the state since 2008.
And the DOL has asked for a one year revocation of his other business, Puyallup Towing,for breaking state towing laws. He is appealing those charges.
“Time and time again we have we've tried to work with them and get them to correct their action, and that is not working,” said Anthony.
While Judge Heslop deals with the present charges, he still hasn't dealt with the past and the 700 bucks he owes to Judy Mikelson.
“He has no intentions of paying us. I don't know why. I don't know what he thinks,” said Mikelson.
Mikelson received a judgment against Heslop in 2008 after an Engle's truck damaged her fence. He told me he was going to take care of it March. He hasn’t.
“He’s a judge, so he knows about judgments. I'm sure he issues judgments himself and he expects people to pay them,” said Mikelson.
In the meantime, the Heslop is still deciding cases in Bonney Lake
As for the towing business, Judge Heslop's son called me to say he's buying the business from his dad.