Journeys E-Scooter startup sues Aguadilla mayor for $3.2M
Journeys E-Scooter LLC, an online scooter rental startup that was seemingly knocked out of the running before it could take off in Aguadilla, is suing the town’s first-term Mayor Julio Roldán-Concepción and other municipal officials, seeking more than $3.2 million in damages.
In the lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, plaintiffs Enrique Quiñones-Vázquez and Jaimys Santana-González — spouses who own Journeys E-Scooter LLC — also sued Frank Hernández, Police Lieutenant of the Aguadilla Municipal Police Department at the time of the incidents.
The plaintiffs explained that in June 2021 they began mulling the idea of establishing a scooter and bicycle rental business in the coastal town of Aguadilla, incorporating their firm the following month. In August 2021, the Aguadilla municipal government gave the startup the go-ahead to start their rental business, for which they began investing.
The online business allowed people to rent scooters and or bikes by the hour or day, and Quiñones-Vázquez would deliver the equipment to where the renter specified.
The first delivery was set for Aug. 18, 2021, when the entrepreneur claimed in the lawsuit that he parked his van in an area reserved for parking on the town’s Paseo Real Marina Avenue. On that day, he said that Roldán-Concepción approached him and “and in an angry and intimidating way shouted [at] him that he could not be parked in the space reserved for parking vehicles, that all his business had to be done from his house.”
The mayor also allegedly told Quiñones-Vázquez that he had not been informed about the start of the new business, but when he checked the permits, Roldán-Concepción confirmed that Journeys E-Scooter could not make deliveries from the owner’s home.
“For reasons not known at the time to plaintiff, mayor Roldán-Concepción was angry and shouting and told plaintiff that he had to leave immediately, or he was going to get into serious problems with him and the Municipal Government of Aguadilla,” according to the lawsuit.
After the mayor left, Lieutenant Hernández reportedly showed up with two other officers and told the entrepreneur that he had to leave the premises, upon Roldán-Concepción’s instructions. Quiñones-Vázquez then went to the Puerto Rico Police Station to confirm if he was breaking any laws, to which officers reportedly responded that he was not.
The following day, and two days after that, Quiñones-Vázquez went back to the same parking area to deliver scooters and bikes, and again the same municipal officials showed up. On two of those times, Quiñones-Vázquez got parking tickets.
On the fourth time, on Aug. 21, 2021, when Quiñones-Vázquez parked in another lot in Aguadilla, the municipal police officers again showed up, and this time arrested him for alleged obstruction of justice. That arrest was caught on video and posted on Journeys E-Scooter’s Facebook page.
Ten days later, Quiñones-Vázquez appeared at an Aguadilla Municipal Court hearing, where the presiding judge found no probable cause for his arrest, according to the lawsuit.
In the claim, Quiñones-Vázquez stated that while he was dealing with his municipal troubles, he learned that on June 14, 2021, a person by the name of Joerick González-López had organized a corporation under the name of Aguadilla Scooter Rental, LLC, a business with a concept like his operation.
Quiñones-Vázquez said in his complaint that González-López was an employee of the Municipal Government of Aguadilla and a close friend of the mayor.
“The mayor has not been served. When it is appropriate, and after consulting with his lawyers, the mayor will present his arguments and facts before the Court,” Maviael Morales, municipal administrator for the town of Aguadilla said in a written statement sent to News is my Business.
“However, we categorically deny that, as falsely alleged in the lawsuit, Joerick González is an employee of the Municipality of Aguadilla. González never been an employee of the municipal government,” Morales said.
Aguadilla Scooter Rental LLC. reportedly began operating Aug. 12, 2021, or a few days after the Aguadilla municipal government gave Journey E Scooters LLC the municipal patent to launch.
Quiñones-Vázquez claims the Aguadilla mayor used his powers to obstruct his business and cause mental anguish, for which he and his wife are seeking $1 million. Quiñones-Vázquez is asking for another $1 million for violation of his Constitutional Protected Rights when he was arrested. The couple is also seeking $1 million in punitive damages, another $50,000 to cover the loss of their investment to start the business, and $200,000 to cover an estimated loss of income annually.