FORT MYERS — A fleet of tow trucks descended on the Good Wheels headquarters Monday, dragging cars and trucks off the property.
The non profit closed suddenly last week, and the Florida Department of Transportation said it’s taking back all of the vehicles it owns. FDOT said it had 39 vehicles in total to collect, and spokesman Zac Burch said there’s a reason they’re working fast.
“We need to get those vehicles back and get them to, whether it’s Lee Tran or whether it’s someone out in Hendry and Glades, who may need these vehicles to be able to provide those trips," said Burch.
It’s just the latest development after Good Wheels shut down suddenly last Wednesday. At that time, CEO Alan Mandel blamed the closure, in part, on FDOT.
"The Florida Department of Transportation recommended grants to us for the 2019 year, and that’s over 600 thousand dollars and we don’t have any of that yet," said Mandel.
But Burch said, those grants were never awarded because Good Wheels wasn’t up to code.
“We noticed a number of deficiencies, about 50 of them. From safety issues, maintenance issues, just some procedural issues, but a wide range of things," said Burch.
Now, Good Wheels has scrambled to hire an attorney.
“I was hired five days ago. I don’t know these folks," said attorney Jeffrey Leasure.
We asked Leasure what they plan to do if lawsuits get filed against Good Wheels.
“We would likely file a bankruptcy case, and like I said, one of the two trustees would be appointed to take charge and do their job," said Leasure.
It’s still early, but Leasure said he’s confident the Good Wheels case is not going to turn into a scandal.
“I doubt seriously there’s been any criminal problem. To the extent that there is, we have an obligation, I personally have an obligation as the attorney for Good Wheels, to investigate any allegations like that," said Leasure.
Leasure said the first priority for Good Wheels is making sure employees are paid. He said they’ve already paid staff through the 15th of this month, and they’re working on getting the rest of the money paid out. Then, they start figuring out how much is owed to vendors.