Thursday, July 03, 2014

Chicago Parking Meter Privatization Still Looks Bad

Mayor Rahm Emanuel can't be blamed for the errors of his predecessor, Richard Daley, but even under a renegotiated contract after Emanuel disputed bills submitted to the City of Chicago by its parking meter operator totaling in the tens of millions annually for out-of-service meters, Chicago taxpayers are still getting a raw deal. The Chicago Tribune reports that the City last year paid the private operator $6.5 million for out-of-service meters instead of the nearly $53 million it had been required to pay one year under the original contract. Motorists, however, can no longer park for free on Sundays in certain areas.

Figures for 2013 indicate that Chicago's parking meter assets generated $130.6 million in revenues for the private operator. So Chicago taxpayers gave up an annual revenue stream of that proportion over a 75-year period to get a single, upfront payment of $1.1 billion, which Mayor Daley spent before Emanuel took office. Why Daley hasn't been brought up on criminal charges for all of the actual corruption from which he and his family profited during his decades as the city's mayor is beyond me.

Speaking of Daley, the Sun-Times reports that his attorneys are using a medical hardship as an excuse to release him from his obligation to testify in another lawsuit involving an effort by the city to break a sweetheart lease deal his administration gave to the Park Grill restaurant in Millennium Park. Daley suffered a minor stroke on the day that he learned that his nephew, Richard Vanecko, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the killing of David Koschman. Mayor Daley's corrupt police department and the Cook County Prosecutor's Office obstructed the investigation in that case for years to protect Vanecko, who made millions off sweetheart city-related deals during his uncle's tenure as Chicago mayor, from being brought to justice. Daley's attorneys didn't elaborate on the nature of his medical hardship. I'm betting he's still drawing a big paycheck from the law firm that hired him after he left the mayor's office, which also coincidentally performed legal work on that horrible parking meter lease agreement.

City attorneys maintain the lease for park-owned property was entered into illegally because the mayor's office failed to obtain council approval before entering into a 30-year "lopsided contract that cheated taxpayers" out of $8 million in revenues. Hmm. Sound familiar? While Park Grill was negotiating the lease, one of its owners, Matthew O'Malley, was banging a top park district official, Laura Foxgrover, who became pregnant. When the City filed suit against Park Grill, its owners were attempting to sell the restaurant for $8 million. During a deposition last year, Daley claimed he didn't have any recollection about the lease negotiations.

UPDATE: You've got to love this gem. A reporter for the Chicago Tribune asked Daley's brother how his brother was doing health-wise just last week. The reporter got an answer that makes it clear that Daley's attorneys lied to the Court when it claimed he had a medical hardship that should excuse him from testifying in the trial concerning Park Grill:

Asked last week how Daley was feeling, his brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, told reporters the former mayor had been traveling and was "in excellent health."
"He's doing fine. He's in excellent health, and he's traveling and enjoying life," John Daley said following an appearance with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at an event to discuss the county budget. "He was down in Texas last week at the mayor's conference, and he's doing well. Thank you very much for asking."
Daley's attorneys should be sanctioned with a severe discipline for attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the Court, but they're from one of the big law firms in Chicago so don't expect anything to happen to them. It's just us little people trying to eke out a living as attorneys who are expected to abide by the rules of professional conduct.


bonnie or michele said...

GET EM ALL !!!!!!!!

Suzan Baker said...

Chicago parking meters still looks bad, there are certain hassles seen in the blog and appears to be a highly erroneous form the administration side where they also abode the professional ‘code of conduct’.cheap car parking birminghamm

Unknown said...

We also betting he's still drawing a big paycheck from the law firm that hired him after he left the mayor's office, which also coincidentally performed legal work on that horrible parking meter lease agreement.gatwick meet & greet

carlagrace said...

Give it some time, i hope the things will get better. but it will surely happen with due effort. gatwick airport parking