Truly, a thousand words here.
If Scott McAdams’ recent behavior shocks you, it might be you’re unaware of the extent of a run-in the alderman had with a towing company three years ago that resulted in a police investigation into possible official misconduct.
Here’s the setup: DeKalb Police (DPD) receive a courtesy call from the city manager’s office that the office has referred Alderman McAdams to DPD for inquiries regarding city towing regulations. A subsequent DPD phone conversation with the alderman reveals McAdams’ belief that his car was illegally towed. McAdams also mentions that he “dropped” his City of DeKalb ID while pulling out his driver’s license in the towing company office, and that he didn’t pay anything to get the car released to him. When informed of this, the DPD chief directs an investigation into both the legality of the tow and the circumstances of the waiver of towing fees.
The following quotes come from a report of the investigation released March 2020. The quotes, following the same chronology as the report, focus on two witness statements about the confrontation in the towing company office, a description of the video recording showing the same scene, and McAdam’s evolving statements about his own behavior.
Following the opening of the investigation, another DPD phone call to the alderman:
[McAdams] described the circumstances about the towing again and I asked him how he identified himself as a DeKalb Alderman. He said that he was concerned that [the towing company] was deliberately telling people to park illegally in order to tow them, or profiting from people that did not know the towing laws. He said that he identified himself to let them know that he would not be taken advantage of.”
The video description:
The video has no audio recording and shows [redacted] working [in the towing company office]…Scott McAdams and a female enter the business and speak with him at the service window. McAdams appears to pull some money out of his hooded sweatshirt and hands it to the female. He then turns back to the window and pulls his City of DeKalb Alderman identification out his wallet. He reaches into the window and puts this ID on the desk. He then holds up his Illinois driver’s license while speaking to [redacted]…At the end of the video, McAdams signed a piece of paper and left. I received a copy of the paper showing that the vehicle was released to Scott McAdams for ‘No Charge.'”
[Witness 1] said that the person identified himself as the 5th Ward Alderman and that they had ‘towed the wrong motherf****r’. [Witness 1] said the man put his alderman ID on the desk and identified himself as Scott McAdams while threatening to put them out of business. McAdams said that he would pull their towing permit from the City Clerk’s office in the morning and speak with the city manager. He also held up his driver’s license to prove that the alderman was real…”
[Witness 2] said that…he was in the breakroom at [the towing company] when the man came inside…[Witness 2] said that he heard someone identify themselves as an alderman for DeKalb and state that they made their last mistake by towing him. The man said that the tow was going to cost the business thousands of dollars. [Witness 2] said that he also felt that if [Witness 1] did not release the car for free then the alderman was going to try to harm the business.”
DPD’s in-person interview with McAdams:
McAdams said that he went to the [towing company] office to get his car. He said that he took out his alderman ID and gave it to the employee. I asked why he identified himself as an alderman. He said that he decided to ‘pull some clout’ and ‘play his best card.’ I asked how his demeanor was during the conversation and McAdams acknowledged that it was not professional.”
The state’s attorney declined to prosecute McAdams on a charge of official misconduct, but that doesn’t excuse conduct unbecoming his position as alderman.
Ironically, the evidence did tend to support McAdams’ contention that the tow was illegal, in which case he could have chosen to act as a role model for the public in seeking justice. Instead, he decided to “pull some clout.”
The report on the misconduct investigation is on FB here
The video of the towing company confrontation is on FB here
DeKalb County Online: DeKalb alderman’s vehicle towed, then released without payment