Mayor Announces Audit Of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired another shot in his battle with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC Monday morning.

Emanuel announced an independent audit of CPM to see if the concessionaire of the 75 year lease of the city’s metered parking system is acting in accordance with the agreement.

“To ensure we are responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars being paid to CPM, it is imperative this administration vigilantly exercise due diligence while effectively managing each contract,” said Emanuel. “These comprehensive, regular audits will help ensure accountability and keep those behind the agreements honest and responsible.”

The Mayor’s office says CPM is just the first audit of several large dollar, long term privatization deals and will eventually scrutinize the Skyway and lake front parking concessions. But it’s probably not coincidence the parking meter company is to be looked at first.

“I want a good look at their books,” Emanuel said at a press conference this morning according to CBS 2 News. “They are not a good corporate partner for Chicago.”

Emanuel campaigned on the promise of giving the meter lease deal a second look, implying he may be able to undo perhaps the single most hated privatization contract locally and nationally.

While initially, those promises seemed forgotten after Emanuel had won office, his administration’s interest in the subject re-emerged when CPM began invoicing the city for the millions of dollars in revenue impacts it was due under the contract.

Between CPM’s claims for lost parking meter revenue for temporary closures of metered parking due to street repairs, utility work, and street festivals, and the excessive number of drivers using disability placards and handicap license plates to receive free parking at meters, the total bill was in excess of $50 million.

Emanuel challenged the accuracy of the claims and refused to pay the bills until the bills were verified. Since then, the city and CPM has been at a standstill with Chicago making no payments to the company and, according to a city spokesperson, no further bills have been received.

The audit, to be conducted by an independent, outside firm is scheduled to begin in November, and will probably take at least two months according to Mayor’s Office spokesperson Kathleen Strand.

“(We’re) just signing the contract with an auditor now,” says Strand. “This is a much deeper dive into the financial and operational process.”

City officials expect the audit will include interviews with the heads of CPM and Morgan Stanley the primary investor in CPM as well as contractors, which will most likely include LAZ Parking, which handles street operations for the company. The audit will also look at contract management and compliance, including whether CPM is meeting minority and local hiring requirements, as well as what’s being termed “revenue reconciliations” between transactions and collection records and to review if the company is meeting it’s operational responsibilities under the contract.

“This administration will continue to fight any charges sent by CPM that we feel are not accurate or justified,” says Emanuel. “As I have said before, the City does not cut a check simply because we receive a bill.”

Attempts were made to contact spokespeople for CPM via phone and email for comment, but no response was received.

10 Responses to Mayor Announces Audit Of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC

  1. Mike says:

    I love how none if these bills were sent when Daley was mayor. It seems like several aldermen didn’t read the fine print. I also find it unethical that Daley now works for this company. Just saying.

  2. DoR Employee says:

    I seem to recall from my annual Ethics training refresher that city employees are barred from entering employment with a city contractor for a certain period of time once they leave their position to ensue the avoidance of ethical impropriety.

    I believe the city can suspend Daley’s pension for the entirety of the audit and revoke his city payroll security detail as well.

  3. Mike says:

    DOR,
    That sounds like an idea, perhaps someone like an attorney general or an inspector general could investigate. Nah, Daley is King.

  4. OIFVet says:

    Not to worry, campaign donations will be made, the right people will be hired at the right salaries, and the right pet projects will suddenly find that CPM is civic-minded enough to support them. Then the audit will find nothing and nothing will change. DOR, that sounds good but come on, this is Chicago we are living in.

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Mike,

    Daley is working for the law firm that handled the legal work for the parking meter lease deal, not CPM.

    But, it’s pretty much the same thing from an ethical point of view, as the legal firm made a crap load of money off that deal.

  6. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    OIFVet,

    If CPM were smart, they would buy sponsorships of every single street festival held on streets with metered parking. They could just “donate” what the cost of their bill would be for the meter closures. CPM generates good press and good will. The city and the street festival don’t have to come out of pocket to pay for the closures. It’s a win-win.

  7. saucexx says:

    It’s a dog and pony show like everything else Rahm does. There’ll be lots of sabre rattling and Rahmbo posturing but in the end CPM will get their money. Nothing will ultimately change and Chicago citizens will still get the shaft from this atrocious deal.

    For my money somebody should should be in Jail for this nonsense.

  8. OIFVet says:

    Geek, these a-holes are too greedy for their own good. Frankly though its all on Daley and the 50 clowns. What kind of corrupt idiot would not insert a clause to allow exemption for street repair. I may be wrong but there is no such thing as a forever pavement.

  9. stan mcmann says:

    Richie Daley screwed us. Selling our meters to LAZ was a crime against the citizens of this city. I hope the contract can be broken.

  10. stan mcmann says:

    Richie Daley belongs in jail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>