IVI-IPO Files Suit Over Parking Meter Lease
“Somebody oughta sue the city over this,” is what came out of the mouths of countless barstool pundits at every watering hole throughout the city when the parking meter lease deal first kicked in.
Today, somebody finally did.
That somebody is the Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO).
“We didn’t see anyone else stepping up to file suit, so we did,” said Owen Brugh, spokesperson for IVI-IPO. “Someone needed to do it. Someone has to stand up and say this deal is lousy.”
The lawsuit was filed this morning in the Circuit Court of Cook County by Clinton A. Krislov of Krislov & Associates, LTD, a firm that often litigates with the city.
The lawsuit actually is filed against City Comptroller Steve Lux, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Illinois Comptroller, Daniel Hynes stating in the plaintiff’s Petition For Leave to File Complaint, “Petitioners’ complaint challenges the City of Chicago Comptroller’s, the Illinois Secretary of State’s, and Illinois State Comptroller’s expenditures of public monies relating to the City of Chicago’s illegally and unconstitutionally privatized parking system.”
The complaint goes on to claim that the lease agreement with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC “unconstitutionally obligates the City to expend public funds in order to police, enforce and maintain the privately held and privately controlled parking meter system.”
According to the complaint, this is a violation of the Illinois Constitution which states “public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes.”
Additionally, the plaintiffs contend that the city cannot legally lease the parking meter system since it’s on the public street.
“The public way is not transferrable,” says lead attorney Clint Krislov. “You just can’t lease out the public way.”
The lawsuit goes on to contend the agreement illegally delegates police power over a privately controlled property. In other words, police and Parking Enforcement Aides (PEA) by writing tickets, are enforcing payment of what is essentially private property according to Krislov.
“It’s like the police patrolling a private parking lot,” contends Krislov.
Finally, the complaint says the agreement “illegally binds successive City Council’s powers to regulate the City’s on-street parking meter system, for an excessive 75-year term.”
“You can’t tie up future administrations and the City Council for 75 years,” says Krislov. “75 years represents generations of people… it’s too long.”
The City of Chicago Law Department had very little comment on the lawsuit but in a prepared statement, spokesperson Jennifer Hoyle said, “We have obtained a copy of the IVI-IVO’s lawsuit regarding the parking meter concession agreement. We have not been served with this lawsuit and it is not clear to us whether or not it’s actually been filed. However, based on our initial review we believe it is wholly without merit, both factually and legally. We do not believe it’s appropriate to comment in any further detail about this potential litigation, except to say that we will aggressively defend this transaction in court if the suit is filed.”
When asked about the lawsuit’s chances of prevailing in court, Brugh seemed realistic about the possibilities.
“It’s hard to say at this point,” said Brugh. “If there wasn’t a chance of winning we wouldn’t have moved forward. Maybe this will spur other people to take some action.”