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The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is cleaning up the junk parked along the streets of Maspeth.
American Auto Body and Recovery, a repair and towing company located at 60-05 Flushing Avenue, has been reportedly parking severely damaged and unmarked vehicles around the neighborhood.
The auto shop was suspended from the Directed Accident Response Program (DARP), which permits selected companies to tow away cars from the scenes of accidents. The DARP program is monitored by the DCA.
“DCA inspectors have issued violations to American Auto Body & Recovery, and as of June 30 they were suspended from the DARP program, pending their hearing, which has been rescheduled for July 14,” said Abby Lootens, a DCA senior communications and marketing specialist.
An employee of American Auto told The Courier that owner Polina Loumakos is declining comment until after the hearing.
The company was issued violations when they failed to make their DARP book, which contains logs of all towing requests they have received, available during two recent inspections. American Auto was then sent a notice of hearing, after which they could choose to pay a fine or present their case to an Administrative Law Judge.
If the violation charge is upheld in court, the business may have its DCA license suspended or revoked, or be subject to a fine of up to $1,000. According to Lootens, a settlement agreement is usually reached in such cases, resulting in the suspended company paying a fee and being reinstated in the DARP program.
DCA has received one complaint about the auto shop thus far in 2011, along with two in 2010, all regarding overcharges. A DCA spokesperson said the three complaints were mediated, and the consumers received some form of refund.
According to Gary Giordano, the district manager of Community Board 5, which represents Maspeth, residents have complained about the parked vehicles, and the complaints have been deferred to the police department. A Courier photographer witnessed no damaged vehicles parked near American Auto.
“I’m hoping that this will reduce the illegal parking in that area of Maspeth,” said Giordano.

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