Avon booting law boots company, owner says
Avon, CO Colorado
AVON, Colorado –A few days after the Avon, Colorado Town Council passed a law that council members said would help the people booting cars on private property, the owner of a booting company is saying the council has put him out of business.
Nick Antuna, of AAA Boot, had six clients within the town – people who hired him to boot cars that were parked illegally on private property. Because there’s no state regulations on booting like the regulations for towing companies, Antuna said he did everything required to operate his business legally and then some.
He opened the business in February of 2008 after getting a business license from the town for booting cars on private property – he also bought a $1 million insurance policy to protect himself from lawsuits or other problems.
The town told him to post signs and get his business license and he’d be ready to go, Antuna said.
The new law outlines several new guidelines that property owners and booting companies have to follow, including getting a license from the town, licensing fees, criminal background checks, maximum fees the companies can charge and other rules.
The reason the town wrote the ordinance is to give people due process should they dispute a boot on their cars, said Town Attorney Eric Heil at Tuesday’s meeting.
The part in the ordinance causing Antuna the most trouble is a section that makes it a misdemeanor for a property owner or manager to violate any part of the ordinance.
“They put me out of business. How did they help me?” Antuna said.
Mayor Ron Wolfe said the ordinance is meant to help owners protect their property “using legal and well-defined means,” he said via e-mail Thursday.
“The requirements on owners are simple and straightforward,” he said. “There will be no difficulty in complying completely and thus not violate the ordinance.”
Shawn Primmer, the property manager for Sunridge, Westlake and Beaver Bench, three of Antuna’s former clients, doesn’t see it that way.
“We can’t afford to have (AAA Boot) on our property when we stand a chance of being prosecuted in some way,” Primmer said. “We can’t use the booting anymore the way the ordinance is written.”
The town took a civil matter that worked just fine for nearly a year and made it a criminal matter, Primmer said.
Antuna worked for about 10 months and never had an altercation with anyone over a boot, he said. Some people threatened to sue him, but that’s why he has the insurance, he said.
Not having the ordinance opens Antuna and the property owners to a criminal tampering charge, Wolfe said.
“Which is a better risk, a town misdemeanor or a felony criminal tampering charge,” Wolfe said.
Antuna would rather run that risk in court, though. He said the business he operated just fine is now essentially ruined because of the ordinance.
“It’s not (the town’s) business to make my business a good business, but it’s not their business to put me out of business,” Antuna said.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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