Last night we aired an investigation into Houston valet companies. If you didn’t see it, you can check it out here: http://www.click2houston.com/investigates/16175004/detail.html
I started the investigation in November when I received an email from Kris Valchar. You’ll see him and hear his story by clicking on the link above. While we built the story around one incident, we received a lot of emails from other Houston drivers about nightmare experiences with other valet companies. Check out the comments section of this blog to read some of those.
Of all of the drivers who emailed, Gary Ruby was by far the most persistent. Ruby lives just down the street from The Brownstone at Westheimer and Virginia. From his vantage point, he says he’s witnessed several violations by Mike’s Valet, the company contracted by The Brownstone. He’s even taken pictures and sent them to us.
We also did surviellance and verified what Ruby told us. Valets at The Brownstone do park customer’s cars on the street. And since Mike’s Valet does not have a permit from the City of Houston, they are breaking the law.
You’ll notice in one picture, a valet has parked car in front of a fire hydrant.
In the other picture, you see a valet walking away from a vehicle. This was an SUV the valet had parked in a “no parking” zone. When the valet noticed an HPD officer ticket the driver, the valet took the ticket off of the SUV and threw it away. Ruby witnessed all of this, and that’s why he snapped the pictures. He waited outside to tell the customer what had happened, but he was intercepted by the valet driver.
I actually looked the customer up by her license plate and called to ask her about the incident. She told me that when Ruby tried to talk with her, the valet told her that he had taken a ticket off of her windshield and was planning to hand it to her to tell her they would take care of it. But he claims wind blew the ticket out of his hand and into a sewer drain. The Brownstone told her they would pay for the cost of the ticket as soon as she found out how much she owed. Since The Brownstone paid, she didn’t want to make a stink, and declined our request for an interview.
There’s always so much to stories that never see air.