Asbury Park Parking Lot Owner Pays Customer $20,000.00 for Illegally Booting Her Car
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
On the night of November 08, 2018, Michele Lanfrank parked in the public pay lot south of the popular Asbury Park restaurant Taka, as she had done for years. Upon returning, she found what many people would find in the coming weeks: Her car was disabled by an electronic “barnacle” covering her windshield, then a sudden approach of men demanding $225 in cash to remove the contraption. They forced her to pay the money to release her car.
Unknown to Ms. Lanfrank and others, the lot had recently been purchased by Douglas Development, which is owned by developer Douglas Jemal, who lately has purchased other Asbury Park commercial properties.
Jemal contracted with SRS Autoplex, a towing company owned by Jacques “Jack” Guire and a company called One Parking. Together they hung a confusing set of signs, making it seem one could pay the City’s parking app to park there, so most people did.
With no lot attendant present, they set up a camera and waited for the lot to be filled, called their awaiting crew, who arrived and disabled the cars. This was so confusing that some nights every car in the lot fell victim to the ruse.
In a most bizarre business practice, Jack Guire would film himself teasing and humiliating people trying to free their disabled car, post the videos to YouTube, then humiliate them further by following them around social media commenting about them.
The City shut down the operation after 2 months. Having been exposed in media by the efforts of Lanfrank, Douglas Development began handing out refunds.
Yet a mere refund was not justice enough according to Michele Lanfrank. She hired Asbury Park attorney Thomas De Seno, Esq. and sued Douglas, Guire and One Parking for violating New Jersey Consumer Protection laws, among other claims.
Douglas Development agreed to pay Lanfrank $20,000.00 in settlement of her case. The other defendants Jack Guire and One Parking are in default and the lawsuit continues against them.
Ms. Lanfrank felt compelled to file the suit to protect others. She said, “I wanted to make clear to these companies that they will pay a price when they take advantage of consumers.”
Douglas Jemal was in the news earlier this year when President Trump on his last day in office pardoned him for a prior fraud conviction. Jemal has yet to publicly comment on this settlement with Lanfrank.