On an August morning, 250 well-heeled San Diegans made their way to Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs’ La Jolla estate. Through one door, guests walked into an extensive modern art collection with a stunning David Hockney painting as its centerpiece. Through the other, they lined up to meet Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
One of the most unlikely members of the crowd was Nash Habib, a small bull of a man who has admitted little interest in politics, but a lot of interest in money. He said he went to see Clinton – and paid $2,700 for the privilege – because he could.
“I donate a lot of money to things,” Habib said.
Luxury homes and big checks are far from the world Habib came from. Twenty-three years ago, he arrived in the United States as an Iraqi refugee. A decade later, Habib showed up in San Diego with an arrest warrant close on his heels.
But in the years since, Habib’s become the father of a towing empire, one that rivals the largest companies in San Diego’s cutthroat market. If you’ve had an accident on the highway, gotten arrested for DUI or called AAA to change your battery, it’s likely a towing company owned by Habib or one of his family members or ex-employees arrived to retrieve your car.
Hard work and Habib’s willingness to fight have fueled his rise. So has the inattention of local governments, which have responded to his repeated misstatements, evasions and overdue bills by awarding him lucrative contracts.
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Hi, Gage Galus. Still working for Angelo's I see. What an article. I knew it was just a matter of time before they caught up with your cousin. Funny how things work.
Calma is getting this idiot and it"s about time! Great article!!!!. This is not about "Race" as bad as he wishes it were to get attention away from the fact this guy is a FELON!!! This clown shouldn't own any businesses in San Diego or anywhere else because of trust issues yet money and greed keep him in business, greed from AAA, don't these people know that this guy is a felon, I've worked for AAA and I've seen people get fired because they were felons yet this guy get's a contract with AAA in San Diego? What kind of message is AAA sending us the public about this person who shouldn't be near us, you don't believe me, look it up, the Law enforcement contracts are just as bad or worst because unless they are just stupid they have to know this person is a criminal, get your car towed by them and the first thing they do is try to get you to one of their repair shops who will rip you off big time and not only that, think about this; would you want your Mom or Gram-Ma dealing with these people let alone your daughters or sons, these are Ex-Felons, and AAA sends them our way!!!! Law enforcement does business with them, this is far from being funny, whoever is in charge of giving these type businesses contracts that put this type person in contact with the public should be fired and the whole system has to be looked into.It's hard to belive that law enforsement is selling out the public for a few dollors. We're talking about the CHP, SDPD Border Patrol and who knows what other departments working in the best intrest of the public,think about this ,with all the evil stuff going on in the USA it's amazing to see how easy it is to work the system, if the people in charge of handling this mess can't clean this up write to people who can, Congress, Assemleymen and the damn Governor before it's to late because when something terrible goes down know that the City who is hired to protect us looked the other way because of money!!!!!
as a professional observer .thi is a fraud, fraud that destroys smaller companies that do everything with such law all small and large companies have lost contracts of thousands of dollars because they have bought the hwy patrol, sheriff .alcalde.senator .all the insurance.ejem .state farm .allstate, Gaico, road america .AAA ext all those working for them .I do not understand if small companies can charge much less .because the insurance pay up to 200.00 dollars to load a battery.how it is possible that all the companies of san diego has more than 20 years on the market and nand have no more than 3 tow truck for example 15 years and only one . that because we are doing everything legal
you know what it sounds like to me, you're the one who is uneducated. Why pick on the guy's race and going personal about his physical appearance that just shows your taking this on a personal level. From what you mention the guy is just trying to make a living it doesn't sound like he killed someone and it sounds like he made a mistakes in his past and learned from them and its not because he is Iraqi anyone else with different race could've done the same thing
Good article. It demonstrates the added value of taking in immigrants. The new immigrants may exceed the accomplishments of the old Italian Mafia.
"True and time tested law enforcement" people have known about all these activities all along, but allowed such questionable, criminal, and/or fraudulent enterprises to grow and flourish for reasons best known to them. Not knocking any particular refugee group but the refugee assistance programs in the U.S. have been lucrative businesses for many American non-profit and for-profit groups. This gentleman did not become so successful all by himself . . . he had help from within our capitalist paradigm to succeed. American born successful businessmen and businesswomen have similarly found success with criminal pasts and unorthodox and cutthroat means. Nothing new or peculiar here, other than shining a light on him because he is Iraqi and/or Muslim, perhaps?
@Cornelius Ogunsalu Your comment "Nothing new or peculiar here, other than shining a light on him because he is Iraqi and/or Muslim, perhaps?" has one word too many i.e.(, perhaps?)
There are around six other towing companies, with longer histories, that have committed or participated in public-damaging frauds and abuses that have gone unmentioned by the writer. None are led by persons who could have been identified, in a headline, as a refugee or have names that so easily seize adverse-assumption-creating attention.
If the man is what he is said to be, I fail to see how his refugee status contributes to it.
Fascinating that Alan Ziegaus decided to represent this gentleman, apparently without doing any due diligence, and thus sullied the reputation of his firm. His website refers to his business as, "A cutting-edge counselor in the fields of strategic planning, crisis communications, media training, message development and public and community relations." Apparently not.
p.s. who gives a crap if he's an immigrant. Technically most every one of us is an immigrant or their first or second generation sons. Give it a rest, sure it relates to the tattoo parlor melee but, has zero to do with today's reality. This is just Muslim race-baiting and as much as I hate extortionist tow truck companies I frankly don't care what the nationality or religion is of their owners. If he were Israeli, Canadian or Vietnamese would you use the same caricatures?
@Jerry Hall You might want to reread the article, no where in this article does it talk about Muslims. Hibib is Chaldean, which is Christian. The only race baiting in the article was about the fight at the tattoo parlor where the Marine mistakenly thought Hibib was Muslim because of his accented English.
I literally cannot ride my bike or drive my car past a tow yard without yelling 'Rip Offs' loudly. These guys are the epitome of extortionists. How in the hell it costs over $300-400-500 to tow and store a car a day or two is beyond me. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to learn how he's amassing his wealth, he's stealing from every car's owner and the real rub is he's doing it with the city's blessings. Somehow they believe the malarkey that it costs that much and is a reasonable charge. I claim Bull****. Ugh, I hate extortionist towing companies (and their enablers).
the towing business has two sides, one is legit and provides services as intended and follows the proper guidelines that regulate the towing industry, the second is all the hack outfits that use methods outside of the prescribed laws. they charge prices above and beyond what the CHP sets as prices for services provided by tow companies. and the use intimidation and strong arm tactics to extract their fees from victims who have little choice but to pay. and to top it all off, customers using towing companies and taking advantage of a businesses good nature or their wanting to help someone who's in a bind, has forced a lot of very reputable and honest tow owners to take a hard nosed position with their customers because they can't provide service for free and stay in business. all i can say, (i worked for towing industry for 5 years) is if you run into a dispute over anything in regards to the service a tow company provided. your best recourse is to get as much documented evidence that you can obtain, and if required as many photos that are accurate images of the issue at hand. this information is critical as to how your claim will go against the company giving you problems. too many times people had valid cause to get some type of action on their behalf, but due to lack of verified documents to support the claim it failed.
A most excellent article that we have come to read from Liam Dillon, San Diego's most outstanding journalist. Simply fascinating, and like they say this is more fun than fiction. Our corrupt politicians just keep feeding us with more of the amazing stories that make us realize that corruption has become the #1 business of government at all levels down to the local dog catcher.
An intersection of money and politics coupled with one of the seediest industries in existence. I am amazed that there may be criminals lurking in the midst of that.
Let's look at the roots of this shall we? Towing is all to often legalized theft followed by ransom. The government knows this but the money generated and eventually filtered to their campaign coffers lead politicians to turn a blind eye and cow tow to those who hold the purse strings. From what I can tell this guy is just competing by the rules of the industry. I am less concerned about him than the politicians that are complicit in allowing him to carry on.
Add this to the growing list of problems that could more easily be addressed if we would limit the egregious amounts of money flowing through politics.
Re: "Scott Chadwick, the city of San Diego’s chief operating officer, said city officials were unaware of the extent of the concerns involving Angelo’s until I contacted them for this story, even though the city had acted against the company many separate times."
It is quite unclear why this man, this Iraqi foreigner, is being singled out.
That is not the first time that the City of San Diego has claimed ignorance on towing contract matters. Once, the City went for over 5 years without towing contracts. Some claimed not to know that the contracts expired Jan 2005, could not be extended because they included illegal amounts. The City Attorney knew!