Beard’s Towing has resolved its legal troubles that sidelined the company from Fort Worth contracts — for now. 

On Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council consulted with the city’s lawyers about the towing company’s status with the city in an executive session. Dual state and local investigations into the company have been resolved without penalty. Still, a third civil lawsuit now looms over one Beard’s Towing employee.

Beard’s Towing and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation reached a settlement on Jan. 13. The department previously issued a notice of alleged violation accusing the company of failing to operate with honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.

After receiving notice from the state agency, Beard’s Towing filed a civil lawsuit alleging the department wrongfully targeted the company.

The settlement allows Beard’s Towing to deny the notice of alleged violation and requires the department to close the case against the company. Beard’s Towing and the department then filed a joint motion to dismiss the cause without prejudice.

Matthew Bobo, who is representing Beard’s Towing in the civil lawsuit, was not available for comment. It’s unclear if the civil lawsuit against the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is still ongoing. 

Fort Worth previously suspended its relationship with Beard’s Towing on March 31, 2022, pending dual state and local investigations into the alleged fraudulent activity. The suspension is indefinite, assistant city manager Ferndando Costa said at the time.

Fort Worth City Council discussed the company’s legal situation in executive session Tuesday. A city spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

The city of Arlington approved a $150,000 three-year contract with the towing company in September. A clause in the contract allowed Arlington to terminate the agreement if Beard’s Towing were to lose its license, said Susan Schrock, a city spokesperson.

“Since its contract was approved in September, Beard’s Towing has provided … towing services for the city,” Schrock said in a statement. “The settlement has no effect on the city’s contract with the company.”

Now that the state investigation is resolved, Fort Worth should reconsider its suspension of Beard’s contract, said Brian Walters, who represented Beard’s Towing in mediation with the department.

“Fort Worth, rather than doing its own due diligence, outsourced my client’s due process rights and this investigation to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation,” Walters said. “There is no reason that my client’s suspension from the Fort Worth towing rotation contract should continue.”

Criminal misdemeanor charges against Beard’s Towing employee Jennifer Gaither were also dismissed on Dec. 2.

“The case was dismissed because the prosecutors saw what the case was worth,” said Gaither’s lawyer, Steve Gebhardt. “I truly believe Jennifer did nothing wrong.” 

Gaither was charged with two counts of tampering with a government record following an investigation by the Fort Worth police department.

Gaither, a proctor for continuing education provider Training of Wrecker Services and a dispatcher for Beard’s Towing, allegedly signed the names of eight Beard’s Towing employees on a sign-in sheet for a Training of Wrecker Services course without informing workers.

Another civil lawsuit filed 

According to court documents, the charges against Gaither were dropped by assistant criminal district attorney Jessica Brewer. 

“Prosecutors take an oath to ensure justice is done. Jessica Brewer’s decision not to pursue prosecution in these cases was following her oath,” Anna Tinsley Williams, communications officer with Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement. 

Gaither was arrested for suspicion of tampering with a government record in March. 

She remained employed by Beard’s towing during the course of litigation. 

However, Gaither’s legal troubles did not end when the case was dismissed. Now, she and the company she worked for, Training of Wrecker Services, or TOWS, is facing a civil lawsuit from Kelly McKnight Wrecker Service Inc., the former longtime towing provider for the city of Arlington.

Gaither worked for TOWS and Beard’s Towing simultaneously, according to a civil lawsuit filed by Beard’s Towing against TOWS Sept. 19, 2022.

The McKnight lawsuit was filed Sept. 29, 2022. McKnight lost the Arlington contract to Beard’s Towing after the company’s contract expired Oct. 1, 2022.

TOWS’ “fraudulent and criminal conduct was a malicious, intentional, and tortious interference with (Kelly McKnight Wrecker Service Inc.) interest in a forming contract with the city of Arlington,” the lawsuit alleges. 

The lawsuit accuses Gaither and the company of conspiring with Beard’s Towing to fraudulently maintain its license in Fort Worth and Arlington. Kelly McKnight Wrecker Service is asking for $3 million in damages for the loss of its contact with Arlington. The lawsuit also asks for more damages, accusing the company of maliciously damaging Kelly McKnight Wrecker Service. 

State case resolved without hearing

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation issued a notice of alleged violation against Beard’s Towing on Sept. 13, 2022. The department offered Beard’s Towing a reduced penalty of $7,500. The department filed the claims with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which handles disputes between state agencies and private citizens. 

“My client can now start working to repair the extensive damage to its business and reputation caused by the now-dismissed charges,” Walters said in a statement. 

In response to the notice of alleged violation, Beard’s Towing filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation and Training of Wrecker Services asking for monetary compensation between $250,000 and $1 million. 

In the lawsuit, the company claims the department’s investigation into the company cost it a contract with the city of Fort Worth, resulting in $568,458.06 in lost revenue from March 31 through August 2022.

The lawsuit also accuses the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation of “overzealous, arbitrary, discriminatory and legally unsupported enforcement actions.”

The two parties reached a mediated settlement agreement before the cause against Beard’s Towing went before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The company and the department agreed to drop their cases.

Beard’s Towing did not have to pay any fines to the department and the company’s license is intact, Tela Mange, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, said.

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Rachel BehrndtGovernment Accountability Reporter

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report in collaboration with KERA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where she majored in Journalism and Political...