The story of Joe Albert is a tale of the exploitation of the fragility of undocumented immigrants. It is also about how governmental corruption allows a few to become rich at the expense of others.
The case, in which a community armed with cameras and driven by indignation rose successfully against injustice, illustrates the importance of the public’s involvement in its city council’s activities.
Today, Joe Albert, owner of Albert’s Towing ? located in the city of El Monte, ? is a fugitive of justice. An article published by Isaías Alvarado in La Opinión details how Albert went from being favored by the Police Department and the El Monte authorities to a wanted man.
Albert had a profitable contract with the city of El Monte for over 4 decades. During that time, there seemed to be no complaints about him. The local police was happy with the services rendered by his towing company. Administrators and municipal authorities touted their “exceptional service” to the point of protecting them from competition.
The investigation makes clear that there was an agreement between Albert, the local police and elected officials in El Monte, who apparently defended the entrepreneur’s interests in exchange for favors and donations.
The arrangement allowed Albert to become rich. He applied unscrupulous methods such as demanding cash payments, holding on to towed cars and closing early, according to a Police audit. Additionally, Albert received preferential treatment at police stations, helping him amass a fortune confiscating cars from undocumented people.
These abusive practices awakened the ire of the El Monte community, driving several people to film the felonies and denounce them formally to the authorities. Today, taking advantage of the lack of local governance, Albert is at large. He left owing the city $120,000.
This story has a lot in common with abuses committed in other cities such as Bell, where the authorities acted wrongfully against its residents. The lessons are the same: Residents and voters are the ones who should watch over their city council and police department, and follow the steps of the El Monte community