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City of West Linn's contract with Portland towing company, where Michael Fesser worked, reportedly has 180 day termination clause

This story has been updated from its original version.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The West Linn Police Department has come under intense scrutiny over the past week for its handling of an investigation of Portland man Michael Fesser. According to the West Linn Police Department, the city's contract with the Portland towing company that employed a man West Linn police falsely arrested in 2017 was terminated in September 2019.

West Linn police Capt. Peter Mahuna said the department wanted to use the services of more tow companies because the two companies it had been using were not always able to meet response timelines. The department needed to terminate its current contracts to allow for more companies to apply. The termination clause of the contracts mandates 180 days notice be given before termination. That 180 days is up next month.

"The two tow companies were allowed to resubmit applications< Mahuna said. I'm certain A&B will not be providing services for West Linn. It looks like we will have a total of four companies starting next month," Mahuna said. "This was not done in response to the Fesser case."

In 2016, A&B Towing owner Eric Benson reportedly asked his friend, former West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus, to investigate one of his employees, Michael Fesser, who he feared was going to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company. Fesser, who is black, had complained about co-workers using racial slurs and taunting him with a Confederate flag.

Timeus then asked West Linn police officers to investigate Fesser. Fesser was investigated without a warrant and arrested by West Linn and Portland police in February 2017. West Linn police then fired him from his job at A&B.

Fesser later sued both Benson and the towing company and was awarded over $400,000. He also sued WLPD and was paid $600,000 in a settlement.

After details of the Fesser case made national headlines the city of Portland decided to end its contract with A&B Towing.

A community member mentioned on Facebook a tow allegedly performed by A&B Towing on behalf of the city, and sparked outrage. "That contract needs to be torn up. Are you kidding me?" one commenter wrote.


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