Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Levin / Vinyl Victim Speaks Out on DIB Meeting


I just came in from the DIB parking meeting and wanted to post an update.

The DIB stated Vinyl does not have the authority to tow cars and the Use Agreement states Vinyl is responsible for any damages that arise.

The DIB is looking at providing signage to Vinyl to alert customers not to park in the spaces.

After my car was towed and I brought this to their attention, the DIB met with Harry Levin, renewed their agreement that expired and charged Vinyl for the parking spaces used since the agreement expired. 

Vinyl signed 3 new agreements on 4-21-17.

Vinyl paid the DIB $500 for the use of 2 metered spaces on Garden street for January 2016 through December 2016, on 4/21/2017.

Vinyl signed a new agreement for 3 parking meters valid Jan-June 2017 at a cost of $180.

Vinyl signed another agreement for 1 parking space valid April 1-30, 2017. 

The DIB stated that by renewing the spaces and collecting fees, does not shift liability to the DIB because the agreement does not allow Vinyl to tow.

The current agreement ends in 30 days and the DIB parking committee is going to revise their agreement to make it fair to all businesses and include requirements of proper signage.

After the meeting, Harry Levin told me he was upset the way I handled the situation, he has every right to tow vehicles in spaces he paid for, he denied that Vinyl is responsible any damages, he wont even pay my tow bill. Harry said he will "let the courts decide." 

My attempts to contact Harry and Evan was through a message left with Brian Oden, emails to Harry , Evan and Teri Levin. When I discovered I had the wrong email address for Evan, I stopped by Evan's home and left a note for him to call me along with all the documentation. After not getting a response, I left a note on Evan's car, which turned out to be Harry's assistant, but he did get the message. Brian Oden told me I was not allowed on their property, which is why I did not go to Vinyl, or 5 1/2 to speak to them directly. 

Harry said they did not respond to me because they feel they have been vilified and he felt my emails were "Threatening." (I can assure you I would NEVER write a threat of any kind to a "Levin.")

I agreed the media response has been tough, but burying your head in the sand only allowed it to blow up further.

I feel the DIB should not renew the agreement until they accept responsibility of their illegal actions because Vinyl violated the terms of the agreement on many occasions. My car wasn't the first to be towed and according to Harry it is not going to be the last one, because Harry feels it is his right if he paid money. (Actually he paid money on 4-21-17 and he towed my car 2-18-17) 

Documented "Use" agreement violations;
1) When they towed my car. DIB was given proof of Tow receipt. The agreement doesnt allow it and the DIB told Harry tonight he can't tow. 
2) When Vinyl bagged and blocked off 2.5 blocks of parking spaces, when the agreement allowed 3 spaces. DIB saw the video Brian Oden posted showing blocking off the spaces.
3) Vinyl uses the spaces for their other business 5 1/2. 
Brian Oden of Vinyl told me specifically my car was towed because the bar 5 1/2 was hosting a private party (The CW55) and the VIP shuttle needed to drop off party attendees. The performing band did not come on a tour bus, but a white cargo van. 

This "Use" Agreement is a sweet deal for Vinyl because if the DIB didn't allow it, Vinyl would be forced to purchase a parking lot with electrical plugs for the tour buses, or not bring in the larger acts.

I personally see this as a privilege, not a right and they have abused this privilege. 

On a final note, the DIB is going to allow Public input. I recommend everyone concerned attend, because the next car towed could by yours. 


Anonymous said...

The DIB has no authority whatsoever to amend, revise, or add to an ORDINANCE that was written and passed by the Pensacola City Council, even though the Special Snowflakes on the board are used to getting away with whatever they please. Specifically, the DIB is trying to ignore Section 12-3-2 of the city's Land Development Code which reads as follows.

“Sec. 12-3-2. - Off-street loading.

ALL … establishments customarily receiving and distributing goods by motor vehicle shall provide loading and unloading facilities ON THE PREMISES. No motor vehicle shall be allowed to extend onto a public street, sidewalk or alley while loading or unloading.”

The city's code enforcement department is REQUIRED to enforce that ordinance, no matter what last name belongs to any particular Special Snowflake. To change the ordinance would take a vote by our illustrious city council, which I am sure is more than happy to stick their collective heads in the sand and avoid any confrontations with Special Snowflakes. Once again, they will shirk their responsibilities to the citizens of Pensacola.

In spite of their denials, the DIB most certainly owns part of the responsibility for the towing and damages to a citizen's vehicle. The DIB should have never issued a "retroactive" lease to Vinyl without insisting that Vinyl apologize AND compensate the owner of the vehicle. Instead, we have a citizen who will be forced to sue the DIB, the City of Pensacola, and Vinyl to obtain compensation for an act that should never have happened in the first place. The whole thing is OUTRAGEOUS! Heads should roll, starting with the grinning bartender and going all the way up through the DIB.

CJ Lewis said...

We still don't seem to know if the agreement between the City & CRA with the DIB allows the DIB to sell parking spaces on an annual basis to private businesses? If so, the practice should be uniform and not favoring one business over another.

When Vinyl got approval to begin operating, do those documents disclose that bands would camp on parking spaces and run on internal building power? Is that allowed? As example, could a food truck park in a parking space and operate off the internal power of the nearest building for free, for a fee or if the food truck is owned by the business owner? What are the rules? There must be some "rules" in place.

The parking management agreement between the City and the DIB does have a large section that addresses "Insurance." Presumably the DIB is required to have insurance should it, its agents (Republic Parking) or its sub-leases (Vinyl) cause damage. In this case, there was no agreement in place on February 18, 2017 when the vehicle in question was towed/damaged. Assuming that the DIB had no direct knowledge of the vehicle being towed, did Vinyl direct the tow company to remove the vehicle from a city parking space managed by the DIB? If so, by what authority could Vinyl have done so on that date - February 18, 2017? Is the situation the same as if any business owner directs the towing of a person's car from a public parking space? Perhaps the other City Attorney Ed Fleming might render an opinion.

Lastly, does the agreement between the DIB and Vinyl, assuming it is legal, provide for Vinyl to let others to include 5 1/2 use the parking space or is the use of the space exclusively for Vinyl under certain circumstances such as parking a bus, etc.?

Anonymous said...

Outstanding points! City is also liable for knowingly refusing to enforce their ordinances.

Anonymous said...

It's probably not good form to approach their homes or leave notes on their cars in hopes of getting anyone's attention. Find a friend who is an atty or consult with someone who can help navigate through the situation- it will keep you from burning any bridges you may need to cross someday.

Anonymous said...

To be clear; not all members of the DIB parking committee were in agreement on extending the now existing use agreement signed after the event. Questions seem to remain as to whether the process outlined in the parking management agreement must be followed by executive Director Curt Morse who appeared to have declared the right to execute the retroactive and newly acquired agreements at his discretion. Trying to exonerate all involved, several members of the board expressed dismay that Harry Levin and Vinyl were being smeared in the social media discussion of the situation. Apparently a notebook containing "agreements" was discovered by absent staff upon return and shared with the Executive Director who has only been in charge for six months. Levin's reference to an agreement in place since 2011 seems to conflict with 2013 beginning document referenced by Mr. Morse. Perhaps the previous directors, acting directors, and committee chairs could share meeting notes and minutes of approval votes per contract terms. Of course, no audio of meeting nor transcript is available as DIB does not regularly record nor transcribe the mtgs. for public review, preferring to capture through staff memory/ notes as minutes only.
Audience comments were accepted with interactive response from staff. One member of the committee went on record to express his displeasure at the public treatment of the issue.
Kumbaya euphemisms were shared by usual suspects. All hail preferred downtown merchants who have saved Pensacola from whatever else it could have been��

joy kristin said...

You're absolutely right. I should not have had to go to such lengths to get a business owner to respond when his employee broke the law acting on his employers direction.

Beginning on 2-19-17 my attempts to reach Evan started and it wasn't until I followed Harry Levin out of the DIB parking meeting, was he willing to speak with me.

I waited a month and a half and got no response.

Yes, I have spoken to 2 attorneys about this and I have to come up with an additional $485. to have them file, or $385 to take them to small claims court.

Winning a judgement, doesn't mean you will collect especially when you are dealing with a family that is connected to the powerful law firm in town.

Vinyl has been given the documentation and should do the right thing, but they won't even pay the tow charge.

I hope the DIB includes a provision in the Use Agreement, damages resulting in their actions need to be resolved prior to receiving another Use Agreement.

Another fine point you make about burning bridges is spot on, which is why I went to extraordinary length's to resolve this prior to going public.

In Pensacola, influence is not only measured by income and the paths we cross are small.

Anonymous said...

How rich. "The Levins don't like how this has played out in public". The owners of Vinyl who illegally towed her car away had MONTHS of polite begging to "do the right thing" before she went public. I hope she sues the City of Pensacola who ultimately has control of their awful Parking Vendors (the DIB). As for the DIB Board who don't like being drug into this, do your work as a Board member and resolve this situation and stop the back room agreements made out of the sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Can someone start a "gofundme" or similar acct to get up front legal fees for Ms Kristen so she can hire an out of town attorney. Methinks Morgan and Morgan "for the people" would enjoy battling the Levin firm..

joy kristin said...

I think the DIB should not issue another Use Agreement to Vinyl until they pay the damages they caused while using the DIB's Asset.

In addition, I don't think the DIB should issue an agreement if the individual signing the agreement has any outstanding parking tickets with the DIB.

The agreement requires the User to accept responsibility for any damages that result while using their Asset. If the User wont pay a $10 parking ticket, why would they pay for damages otherwise?

Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior.

Anonymous said...

You might not collect anything or have things restored to your satisfaction , but a judgment sets a precedent. It's a beginning. If I find myself in this very situation, I will seek legal remedies- my friends will do the same. Vinyl does not hold power over designated public parking areas- let's not continue believing that there are no options when it comes to certain people in our community.

Anonymous said...

To Joy Kristin -

Please file a complaint with the Pensacola Police Department. It will not cost you one penny. This is a criminal case (car theft, damage to property, etc.) as well as a civil case. You are obviously not going to get any help from Vinyl, the DIB, the Pensacola City Council, or the Mayor. They are circling the wagons and doing a 4-way finger pointing charade. The police department will (hopefully) interview everyone, including yourself, and at least write a truthful report that can be used in a civil case if needed. Perhaps they will levy charges against the Levin's or at least persuade them to do the right thing and reimburse you for expenses.

joy kristin said...

When I spoke with Harry Levin on 4-25-17, he encouraged me to file a police report. He said nothing will happen.

Harry is right, nothing will happen to HIM.

An employee of Vinyl, Brian Oden signed for the tow. Oden cited " I give permission to remove vehicle from property." The permission Brian cited was the agreement Vinyl made with DIB to have three parking spaces. Brian did not show the tow company the agreement. This agreement was also brought up when I spoke to the tow truck driver.

Further evidence that Brian's actions are directed by Vinyl is when he is shown bagging parking meters with "Custom Made" meter bags with Vinyl logos. Vinyl purchased them, not Brian. I also suspect that Harry told him to video tape providing proof the meters are covered after the incident with my car.

Who is Brian Oden? The Facebook story is that he moved here from New Orleans and appears to single dad. He lives a very modest lifestyle that requires having roommates in order to make ends meet. He owns an older vehicle that is not reliable and his girlfriend appears to be employed by Vinyl Music as well. Brian Oden a guy just trying to make a living doing what he loves.

When I spoke to Harry he made sure to correct me that Brian Oden is the Stage, Lighting, Sound Manager of Vinyl and not the manager of Vinyl. I told Harry I thought Brian was talented. (Harry follows Maren's blog)

While Harry is willing to allow his employee/friend to be charged for a crime Vinyl directed him to do, the impact on Brian Oden's family could be devastating.

A better solution? Vinyl files an insurance claim on their liability insurance, or ask the DIB parking committee to enforce the terms of the "Use" agreement.

The current agreement expires on 4-30-17.

Harry told the committee Vinyl has to have the metered spaces in order to bring in bigger Acts with tours buses. Specifically those spots so the buses can plug into Vinyl's electrical power plug on the outside wall. ( How that outlet installed was approved is another story.)

I have asked the DIB parking committee not to renew, or allow another "Use" Agreement until the damages they caused are paid for which is stipulated in the terms of the agreement.

Anonymous said...

Joy -

Don't let Harry Levin bluff you into thinking that nothing will happen if you file a complaint with the police department. You need to file the complaint. If you DON'T file the complaint nothing will happen. The police will at least write an incident report, and that is the first thing that you will be asked to provide if this matter goes to court. The police will probably interview all parties, including the Levin's.

Anonymous said...

Check the very end of South Palafox. Reserved parking on a city street..

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 10:15 (AKA Harry Levin) -

Reserved parking on a city street MAY be allowed, but that is a practice that the city should allow only under certain circumstances and only if it is for a public (not private) benefit. That's a discussion for another time, but certainly being a Special Snowflake is not one of those circumstances. There are at least two important differences between the reserved parking space on South Palafox and what happened in front of Vinyl.

(1.) The agreement between the DIB and Vinyl to reserve spaces had expired. Vinyl failed to pay for any reserved spaces. Therefore, it was ILLEGAL for Vinyl to tow a car that was parked on a public street.

(2.) There were no posted signs indicating that the parking spaces were reserved. It really doesn't matter that the grinning bartender "forgot" to put bags over the meters. Therefore, it was ILLEGAL for Vinyl to tow a car that was parked on a public street. Actually, if the grinning bartender had put bags over the meters that would have been another ILLEGAL act.

Anonymous said...

Whops, sorry! That last comment should have been addressed to Anon at 7:19 AM, not 10:15 AM.