Saturday, April 23, 2011

Professional Fees For Parking Meter Lease Deal Cost Taxpayers Nearly $3 Million

It's always the driving force behind these deals. The only way the pay-to-play insiders can make big money off representing government is to convince corrupt elected officials to undertake one-sided deals that screw over taxpayers as an excuse to bill hefty fees they earn for carrying them out. The one-sided parking meter lease deal the Ballard administration entered into with ACS was no exception. Fees for that deal reached nearly $3 million, or about 15% of what the city received in the form of an upfront payment for the deal. The Star's Jon Murray breaks the fees down as follows:

  • $1.9 million to Morgan Stanley for financial services;
  • $950,000 to Ice Miller for legal services; and
  • $109,000 to Hirons & Co. for public relations.
A public interest group in Washington was critical of the Ballard administration's decision to use Morgan Stanley because of its role in other parking meter deals around the country. "The company is one of the primary investors in the Chicago deal and stands to gain from the deals they advise on," PIRG's Phineas Baxandall noted in a report it released on the deal. "That is a clear conflict of interest." On the lease agreement drawn up by Ice Miller, the Urbanophile's Aaron Renn noted it was essentially a "cut and paste" job lifting heavily from the lease agreement the City of Chicago used for it long-term parking meter lease. Murray's story omits the real reason Hirons & Co. was paid $109,000 a year to work on public relations for the deal--the firm's owner hired Mayor Ballard's son a short time before he awarded the no-bid contract to the firm. Ballard similarly awarded an even larger no-bid contract to Hirons for work on the Citizens Energy deal for the water and sewer utilities. The Star, like the rest of the news media in town, continues to ignore the fact that ACS installed used electronic parking meters combining old city assets with used assets owned by the company in only the high volume areas to allow the private vendor to start raking in its fees as opposed to new, state-of-the-art technology promised when the deal was approved. Nobody in the media has yet to report on the role Pay To Play has in deals undertaken by this administration on so many fronts to the detriment of city taxpayers.


Paul K. Ogden said...

How could that piece never even mention that Mayor Ballard's son works for Hirons? I bet you Jon wanted to put that in and the editors took it out.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Well, ya know...votes are expensive!

Downtown Indy said...

Looks like Kid Ballard paid for himself this year.