Longwood commissioner at the center of controversial towing rate increase

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - If your car is towed in Seminole County, prepare to pay more to get it back.

Tuesday, county commissioners approved a request from towing operators to raise their fees by up to $60.

Under the changes, drivers will have to pay more when their car is towed and there's also a new fee if to get your car back after hours.

Channel 9 learned the person who approached the county about the fee increase is Longwood City Commissioner Bob Cortes, who owns Cortes Towing, one of the county's largest towing companies.

"It's a conflict of interest however you look at it," said driver Amir Paymayesh.

Channel 9 tracked down Cortes and although he wouldn't give us permission to record his interview, he said his political position has nothing to do with his effort to raise rates.

He also said he's the regional chairman of the Towing Association and has been an industry advocate for years, long before he became commissioner three years ago.

The new rates are equal to those Cortes helped get passed in surrounding counties over the last decade.

The new rates went into effect Tuesday.