FOX 4 Problem Solvers: Man says tow company refuses to release his vehicles to him

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CENTERVIEW, Mo. -- Ronald Semler doesn't have a lot to keep him busy these days. His car lot in Centerview, Missouri is empty.

"I'm ruined," said Semler.

He puts the blame on a tow company which towed 11 cars Semler was storing in the back of another company's car lot on 40 Highway. The owner of that lot wanted to use the space for something else.

Semler thought he had time to comply, but was in the hospital when the cars were towed.

When he got out of the hospital the next day, and armed with $2900 in cash to pay the impound fees, he went to the tow lot, Private Party Impound. But every document Semler said he had on him to prove his ownership of the cars wasn't good enough for tow lot owner, Jay Bloodworth.

Bloodworth is no stranger to FOX 4 Problem Solvers. He was featured in a report three years ago after being accused of illegally towing cars in Kansas City's Crossroads District.

Semler said he showed Bloodworth paperwork proving the car titles had been assigned to his dealership, which the Missouri Department of Revenue confirmed is adequate proof of ownership, but Bloodworth wouldn't accept it.

Semler's friend Carol Baker tried to help and asked Bloodworth exactly what type of paperwork he wanted.

"I prepared the paperwork he wanted prepared," Baker said. "Took it down and that wasn't enough. Then he wanted something else. I got that. He wanted something else. I got that."

Finally she said Bloodworth demanded a power of attorney document that would hold the tow lot harmless. So she provided that. But even that apparently wasn't enough.

"He made us write one for each car and it had to be notarized," Baker said.

As she raced to get the additional paperwork, the daily storage fees kept mounting.

By the time Bloodworth agreed to release the cars, the impound fees had more than doubled from $2,900 to $6,000. It was far more than Semler could afford.

Semler asked Kansas City Police for help. He was convinced he'd been victimized by an unscrupulous tow lot. But police told him it was a civil matter.

It's not just the cars Semler is worried about. He still owes thousands of dollars to the company he borrowed money from to buy the cars. He doesn't know how he'll pay the debt.

"He's a 73-year-old man asking me to help him find a job," said Baker. "At 73 years old you shouldn't have to go out and look for a job to pay off the debts of a dishonest person."

Problem Solvers paid a visit to Private Party Impound to get its side of the story. But once we told the man at the gate that we were trying to find out why Jay Bloodworth was unable to release Semler's cars, he walked away, refusing to answer any questions. We later called Bloodworth to get answers and he has never called us back.

At FOX 4 Problem Solver’s urging Semler is filing a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General's office. That's the only state agency that might be able to help him solve this problem. He also could hire a private attorney, but he can't afford one.

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