Category Archives: Global Parking Management
Marcus Forman parked in a laundry mat parking lot in Rogers Park last week, then went next door to the liquor store in Rogers Park.
But when he came back to his car, he found it had been booted by Global Parking Management.
That’s when, according to DNA Info Chicago, Forman lost it and attacked the booter working for Global Parking with pepper spray and the “wooden end of a hammer.”
Forman eventually turned himself in to police. He was charged with aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. A judge set his bond at $125,000.
Global Parking Management patrols many private parking lots in Chicago using the same type of vehicle immobilization device–the Denver Boot–that the City of Chicago uses to convince parking ticket scofflaws to cough up what they owe.
Reporter Tom Negovan does a report spotlighting two motorists nabbed by Global Parking. WGN’s cameras follow one driver trying to get the boot off his car parked at the Village Thrift lot in Roscoe Village. Surprisingly, he prevails and the boot gets removed. Most likely because of the TV cameras.
Another gentleman, the driver of an organ transplant ambulance, got confused picking up burritos at Burrito House on Addison at Kedzie. He parked in the lot immediately adjacent to the restaurant and came out to find a boot on, and I repeat–his ambulance!
Here’s the full story and video.
In Your Face Chicago is a website that produces short video webisodes extolling the virtues of this great city we call Chicago.
A new episode debuts every Wednesday–hey, that’s today!
Back in January, when they were shooting their first episode, the InYourFace-mobile overheats headed down Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park. With no place to pull over on the street, our intrepid pals pull into a strip mall that, unbeknownst to them, is patrolled by Global Parking Management.
Things go from bad to worse when they venture off on foot to purchase fluids for their parched vehicle and get back to find their car booted.
I’ll leave the gory and dramatic details to In Your Face Chicago and make sure you read all the way through for the ironic twist at the end.
Last week’s episode of In Your Face Chicago, (click here to watch) was shot way back in January. It was sort of a test episode and I didn’t have a chance to edit the footage until just a few days ago. The host (Marissa) and I filmed in Wicker Park and afterwords I dropped her off at her place. (i’m cool like that) Anyway, not long after the drop off my car started to overheat…bad. It was going bananas and I had no idea what the problem was. I just added coolant but it kept getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Finally the temperature gauge maxed out and I had to pull over immediately. To bad I was on Milwaukee avenue during rush hour. There wasn’t a parking meter to be found anywhere. So I pulled into a strip mall.
Big mistake. I parked in front of an EMPTY store front and started walking. I knew there was a convenience store just like 2 blocks away so I figured I’d buy a lot of bottled water to pour into the radiator. My hope was that the walk would give the car time to cool down so it didn’t spray me in the face with scalding hot steam when I took off the radiator cap too.
So I bought a bunch of water and trudged back to my car. Then I saw it. The only sight more devastating than an orange ticket on your window; the boot. I had been booted!! I was only gone for 15 minutes!
Immediately I envisioned how my night was about to get much, much worse. I figured I’d have to sit for hours while I waited for the boot gut to come by and take that fricking contraption off my wheel. And then, a miracle. I see the boot guy in the parking lot! I run over to him and he said just chill out for a second, he was de-booting someone else’s car.
De-booting someone else’s car? Yep. He had gotten someone else in the parking lot. So I went and sat by my car to wait. While I waited, I started to think….why the heck is a city parking officer hanging out in a strip mall parking lot? For that matter, how can he boot my car on commercial property!? Shouldn’t his authority stop at the parking meters!!?? And why why didn’t the boot look like the kind the city used? I’ve never seen a red boot before. Just what the hell was going on here?
Well the guy finally comes by and starts giving me a big speech. I was given the boot because I was seen exiting my car at 5:57pm and then I was spotted heading towards the street on fot. As he was telling me this I turned to the tanning salon that I was parked next too and gave the girl behind the counter a heavy helping of Stink Eye. She must have called the boot guy as soon as a I was out of the parking lot!
But the speech continued and I realized stink eye-ing the tanning girl may have been premature. The boot guy did not work for the city. He was just some dude who booted cars….for the strip mall! That’s why he was still there when I walked up, that’s why he was booting someone else and that’s why the boot on my car was noticeably missing any phrases like “City of Chicago” or “parking enforcement.”
My mind was boggled. I was being legally extorted by some guy with a special wrench. I had to give him my credit card to get the boot off. 115 bucks and 40 seconds later my car was free. I asked him “how can this possibly be legal? How can a business just hold cars in it’s lot for random??” He agreed that it sucked but he said his company was licenced by the city. He actually managed to make me feel better by saying “Hey man, just imagine, if we couldn’t do the boot, we’d have to tow you. Think about how much time and money you’re saving.”
The boot guy was starting to win me over. He was even sympathetic about my radiator. He let me call his boss so that I could try to get out of the booting but of course the boss was a jerk and said I had to pay even if I had no choice to pull over. “Shoulda left a note” he said..
After the boot was off my car the boot guy actually looked under my hood and figured out what was wrong with my engine! I kept looking for my radiator cap and was feeling like an idiot because I couldn’t find it. The boot guy took one look and said “hey, you’ve got no radiator cap. Without it, no pressure can build up in the radiator and the coolant can’t move through.” The dude then got on his computer and looked up directions to the nearest auto parts store. He even told me what size radiator cap I would need.
So the moral of the story is, be nice to the boot guy. He’s just doing his job. The owners of the strip mall on Milwaukee Ave. a block down from the Double Door can suck it though.
Each week, The Expired Meter offers up a potpourri of ticket and parking related news to keep you up informed and up to date.
ITEM: In the past, I’ve never seen a boot issued on a Saturday or Sunday. From a booted vehicle I saw the other day, that may be changing. I witnessed a freshly booted vehicle with a bright orange sticker that dated it Saturday morning. Watch out!
ITEM: Last week, the city council approved Ald. Vi Daley’s move to increase the fine for talking on your cell phone will driving from $75 to $100. Don’t be surprised to see more of these cell phone tickets issued this year.
ITEM: No official word, but it looks like the parking meter lease deal is STILL not finalized. It was supposed to close this week. Thanks goes out to all you lawyers finalizing the deal. Keep up the great work.
ITEM: There’s a new booter in town. For over 10 years, Global Parking Management was the one and only private booting firm in town. According to a reliable source, a new company called Parking Management Services, plans to jump into the booting business sometime in March. I’m told the company management has 25 years of experience and comes “with massive insight into the local parking industry.”
ITEM: Speaking of private booting, negotiations between Global Parking Management and Ald. Waguespack’s office have been ongoing and are close to a final agreement on terms to allow Global to continue to work within the 32nd Ward, according to a source within the 32nd Ward office. We’ll have the full story when the deal is complete.
ITEM: Facebook user John Stamoolis is pissed. He’s angry that Mayor Daley is selling off the city’s assets, which of course, includes the parking meter system. If you agree with him, join his Stop Mayor Daley From Selling Chicago Facebook page.
ITEM: If you live in Wheeling, and want to know more about this suburb’s red light cameras, stop by Wheeling Village Hall, 255 W. Dundee Rd. at 7:30 PM or on Wednesday, February 25th.
The town’s first cameras will be at the intersections of Palatine and Wheeling, and Milwaukee and Dundee.
For more info, call (847) 459-2649.
QUESTION: Who is James Damion? I’m trying to find out. If you have info, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ITEM: Perhaps Chicago needs some schooling on what a real ticket amnesty looks like. Ciciero has some a kickass ticket amnesty deal for scofflaws offering a 50% reduction on tickets of $100 or over and reducing payments on other tickets including paying only $30 for a $75 ticket, $20 for a $50 ticket and $10 for a $25 ticket.
Now THAT’s what I call amnesty.
The program started Feb. 1 and will run three months.
REMINDER: Only four days left until Chicago’s Ticket Amnesty program is over. Try to pay it on-line as DOR payment centers are being overrun by procrastinator scofflaws like me and you.
In fact, several DOR Payment Centers are offering special Saturday hours on Feb. 14th to gladly take your money.
GEEK NEWS: Tune into Vocalo on Thursday afternoon around 2 PM. The Parking Ticket Geek stops in to the Vocalo studios to discuss all things parking. Vocalo airs on 89.5 FM serving NW Indiana and SE Chicago, but you can stream it live here.
Here is the full text of my inane ravings.
By The Parking Ticket Geek
There are very few businesses in Chicago that elicit the unbridled fury of Chicago drivers more than Global Parking Management.
Countless unwary – or some say stupid – drivers have had their vehicles caught in the jaws of one of Global Parking’s Denver boots. A boot that lay in anxious wait for them to step onto the premises of another business, unrelated to the lot in which they parked.
The booted drivers seethe, shriek, shout, scream, wail and even cry in shaking fits of rage as they quickly come to the frigid realization that they have to cough up $115 for the privilege of escaping onto the street with their just freed vehicle.
In some ways, it’s difficult to be sympathetic with most of the drivers caught by Global Parking’s insidious money making machine. Signs – large ones, in fact-are posted at all of the 40-plus lots Global Parking manages.
The signs clearly state that if you opt to park on the premises you must follow the rules. You must patronize only the business or businesses indicated on the sign. If you do walk into another store on the way to or coming from the parking lot – CLANK! – the boot goes on.
The drivers that get caught yell, whine and complain. They call 311, the police, the Better Business Bureau, and their alderman. Ultimately, however, they pay up.
You see, businesses in Chicago’s parking-starved neighborhoods fight a daily battle to protect their parking lot from inconsiderate trespassing jerks that spend their money elsewhere. They do this so that actual customers can patronize their businesses and have somewhere to leave their vehicles when they do.
Global Parking Management’s idea is an alternative, less expensive, more convenient solution to trespassing vehicles than towing.
Personally, I don’t like the strong arm tactics Global Parking employs in their business. It strikes me as mean, thuggish and an overly aggressive way to police one’s parking lot.
At the same time, Global Parking and their clients have the right to control parking lot as they see fit. If that includes booting, so be it.
I also don’t really have a problem when jerks who feel they can park wherever they please and not patronize the owner of the lot get booted. My sympathy is tiny. Perhaps it will teach the booted driver some parking manners.
But, can’t we find a middle ground? Can’t Global Parking and their customers soften their policies and stay, peacefully, in the 32nd ward?
I’m not sure how anyone benefits when a customer parks in a Global lot, patronizes the business that owns the lot, but then picks up their dry cleaning or a cup of coffee across the street before returning to a booted car.
The customer is enraged and the business has likely lost a future customer. The only one that benefits is Global Parking.
Perhaps if the policies allowed for a sincere patron to bring a validated receipt back to the lot, or give a grace period of 15 to 30 minutes to shop elsewhere after spending their money inside the business, there would be a lot less red-faced, vein-popping emotion.
Under this proposed scenario, customers are happy, businesses keep their customers and peace and harmony is restored to the parking universe.
Global Parking would probably see a bit of decline in revenue from such a proposition. But, compared to the alternative of being booted from the 32nd ward altogether, Global would do much better with a more flexible approach.
In the meantime, if you want to make sure you don’t end up contributing to Global Parking’s coffers, I advise avoiding Global Parking Management parking lots completely. The convenience of these parking spots is not worth the potential headache. And if you’re so inspired, stop patronizing businesses that use Global Parking’s services. But let them know that you are doing it and why, otherwise they may just chalk it up to a poor economy.
Either way, in the long run, your dollars will speak louder than your moral support – or your screams of fury.
Check out the The Parking Ticket Geek’s first foray into newspaper publishing in this week’s Booster Newspaper.
Booster Editor Jessica Pupovac, was kind enough to ask me for the Geek’s thoughts on the ongoing Global Parking Management issue in the 32nd Ward.
It’s not available online. So get off your butt, pick up the actual newspaper and read it. Get some ink on your fingers. It’s fun.
We’ll reprint the column here at some point.
Check it out!
Booster Editor Jessica Pupovac does a great job covering the issue from all sides.
Private booting company draws ire in 32nd Ward
By Jessica Pupovac – Editor
Ald. Scott Waugespack (32nd Ward) has put Global Parking Management on probation.
Last month, the freshman alderman threatened to expel the parking lot security firm from his ward after receiving a rash of complaints alleging rude service, unscrupulous charges and sometimes hostile staff, particularly at two of the many locations the company operates at in his ward: Village Discount Outlet at 2043 W. Roscoe and Burger King at 2344 W. Chicago Ave.
But then, he changed his tune and decided to invite them to the table.
“I pulled the removal of their services from the ward for the time being so that we could give them an opportunity to devise better management of the lots they are booting on,” he wrote in an e-mail. “If we have further incidents, they would be subject to suspension from the ward.”
Waugespack did not return multiple calls requesting more details on his constituents’ complaints and why he changed his mind.
Global Parking Management is a 10-year-old, Chicago-based private booting company that guards private lots throughout Chicago. The only one of its kind licensed to operate within the city, the company is brought in by business owners looking to guard their private lots from people who do not patronize their establishments and to punish drivers who leave their vehicles behind and wander into neighboring shops.
Global Parking does not charge its clients; the company’s only revenue comes from fines levied against violators.
Joe Grillo, part owner of Global Parking, admits that his is a company people love to hate but, he says, “there is a need for it. We wouldn’t be in business if there wasn’t.”
“It’s not an easy job. Nobody wants to get ticketed or towed or booted,” he said. “But having a parking lot is a luxury, and it is a very expensive one. For these people who own these businesses, if you park and then go into another business, that spot might not be there when one of their own customers needs it. You are basically stealing that parking spot away from that business owner.”
Global Parking Management’s clients include about 40 stores throughout the city, with most located on the North Side.
At places like Village Discount, he said, where customers might spend hours on end at the store only to spend a few dollars, Global Parking’s services are vital.
“That lot doesn’t even give them enough space to accommodate their own customers, much less other customers in the area,” he said.
But many residents whose cars have been at the receiving end of Global’s enforcement tactics disagree. Many drivers interviewed for this story complained of feeling bullied by attendants and being unaware of their infraction until it was abruptly brought to their attention. Most of them did say they had wandered away from the stores that own the lots in which they parked – but sometimes, they said, only in order to complete their transactions.
Wicker Park attorney Karen Moran went to the Az Zenith Currency Exchange at 1934 W North Ave. in mid-December to renew her license sticker. She said that when she was told that the currency exchange only accepts cash, she told the teller she needed to go across the street to an ATM.
“She didn’t say anything about the lot,” says Moran. “I was gone for five minutes and I got booted in that amount of time.”
Moran says that the teller could have warned her.
“I just felt like I was in a typical Chicago gotcha situation. I was trying to do what I thought was right and get my license plate renewed, but I just felt scammed,” she said. “I understand that they don’t like people parking in their lot when they are going into a club or what have you, but I was just using their services and I felt ripped off.”
Moran says she was on her way to pick up her children from school, so she signed the paperwork, paid and went on her way. She said she was given a customer’s bill of rights, but was forced to sign away her rights in order to get her car back and pick up her kids on time.
Moran contacted the Better Business Bureau and filed a complaint, which is still pending. She’s not alone. According to the Better Business Bureau’s Web site, the consumer protection and business accreditation organization has processed 70 complaints against the company in the past 36 months. They rank Global Parking’s record as “unsatisfactory.”
The city’s Department of Business Affairs and Licensing has even more violations recorded. According to Efrat Stein, a spokeswoman with the department, 70 residents have filed complaints regarding Global Parking Management since the beginning of 2008 and have initiated administrative hearings. Even more have been filed and never followed up on. She encourages people who feel they have been wrongly booted to call 311 and file a complaint. However, she added, “I think it’s logical to try to work with the business first.”
Grillo says that Global Parking processes its own appeals and regularly issues refunds for drivers who may have been wrongly booted. He was unable to provide exact figures, but said that employees record their interactions with drivers and that those recordings are kept on file in the event of an appeal.
Overall, he says, people need to realize that the boot is ultimately “a softer, more effective approach for both the businesses owner and driver.
“It costs practically half the towing fee, and you don’t have to trek across town to pick up your car. You can pay on the spot.
“People get upset that they have to pay that fee, but I think it’s a lesson learned.”
Since Global began operations, some ordinances have been passed to increase oversight and guarantee customer rights, but some say there might still be room for improvement.
Denise Poelsterl, office director at Ald. Tom Tunney’s office (44th Ward) says that Tunney supported a move to require Global to issue a customer’s bill of rights to drivers after a boot, but acknowledged that even more public education might help quell some of the continuing conflicts.
“People are not aware of how it works, until it’s too late, unfortunately,” she said. “They don’t understand the booting process and why it’s allowed. People think that they can leave the property, they only ran across the street to Starbucks for a few minutes.”
She said she understands the need for Global’s services in places like Lake View and Roscoe Village, where “parking is at a premium,” but said that the issue is one of public education.
“If Global Parking Management did better public education, or if someone stepped up to the plate and did some better education about this entire process-how it works, what are the repercussions-I think if people actually knew what it was all about, there would be less problems,” she said.
Some of the reforms that Waugespack is encouraging would be for Global’s attendants to be more proactive in informing people of their policies, rather than counting on them to read the signs on display. He also would require attendants to wear bright yellow jackets so that they don’t take residents by surprise, as well as install gates or some sort of marker to differentiate the lot.
But too much warning could ultimately cut into profits.
The company, right now, is doing well. Grillo says they have never lost a customer and that his operation now has about 35 employees. The owners have expanded into other operations and now run a successful business in Wicker Park, where they sell fruit cut into floral shapes.
Meanwhile, at least one freshman alderman, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is leaning in the opposite direction: Since he took office, Reilly has moved to include his ward in the list of fewer than a dozen where Global Parking is allowed to operate.
As reported here just a few weeks ago, according to 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, the fate of Global Parking Management had been sealed. The private booting firm was going to be given the boot from the 32nd Ward.
Too many complaints, too many reports of alleged violence and police reports, too much time spent dealing with the issue of private booting company Global Parking Management.
“Dealing with the constant weekly issues on this, putting people in the position of fearing of their lives…”, said Waguespack at the time. “I shouldn’t have to deal with it.”
Waguespack and staff seemed to have decided enough was enough,and was moving ahead on changing the ordinance that would eliminate private booting in the 32nd Ward.
Global Parking manages 40-45 parking lots throughout Chicago according to Global Parking officials, with 10-13 of those lots residing within the 32nd Ward. This amended city ordinance would have effectively eliminated about 25% of Global Parking’s lots.
But emotions seems to have cooled in the interim, as Ald. Waguespack met with both pissed off constituents whom complained about Global Parking, and Global Parking’s owners. Global Parking is going to be allowed to stay…at least for now, but with some potentially restrictive changes coming in the near future.
“What I would like to do is not entirely kick them out of the ward,” said Ald. Waguespack. “There will be a voluntary suspension of business at some locations in the ward.”
According to Ald. Waguespack, as of January 1, Global Parking Management is voluntarily suspending operations at two parking lots in the 32nd Ward until his office and Global Parking can finalize details of changes the parking lot management company must make, to remain welcome in the 32nd Ward.
The two parking lots in questions are at Burger King, 2344 W. Chicago Ave. (next to Village Pizza) and Village Discount-Roscoe Village (Roscoe & Hoyne). It is these two locations which has produced the most complaints to the alderman’s office and to the police.
But Global Parking Mangement owner Joe Grillo has a slightly different view on how this cooling down period is going down. Grillo says it’s not a “suspension of operations” at the two locations but “minimizing operations for right now.” according to Grillo. “There are no conclusions on how things will be resolved…nothing is finalized yet. We don’t want to give people the idea they can park there (without consequences).”
Grillo defined “minimizing services,” at the two lots as posting employees on the lot part-time instead of full-time, reducing hours and possibly days of enforcement.
“We’re still in the midst of speaking with the alderman,” explained Grillo. “We are basically keeping the lines of communication open and seeing what we can do to address the concerns of the community.”
Toward this end, Waguespack has asked Global Parking to meet with some of the neighborhood chamber of commerce in the ward, including, those representing Roscoe Village, West Town and Wicker Park, to get their input on the issue.
Global Parking and Waguespack’s office are slated to meet after the first of the year to discuss a list of changes, specific to the ward, that Global Parking will have to agree to, in order to stay in the 32nd ward. There is no specific list of changes or hard deadlines for resolving these issues yet. But Waguespack and Grillo both ticked off a few ideas that included a uniform or bright vest for Global employees, labels for cars parked in Global lots, more training for Global employees, changes in signage and perhaps a 10-15 minute grace period that would allow a bit more flexibility for parking lot patrons.
Ald. Wauguespack has also been consulting with Ald. Gene Schulter and Ald. Tom Tunney about how to tighten the rules and regulations on the ordinance that controls private booting. Ald. Waguespack explained there was no penalty system written into the ordinance to punish Global Parking for infractions and suggested perhaps a three strikes type approach to the issue.
Grillo defends the practice of private booting, a practice his company introduced in Chicago 10 years ago, as a necessary weapon to help business owners preserve their parking lots for their customers. Grillo feels that the concept of protecting the business owner’s right to control who parks on their lot is often lost in the heat of emotion.
“It’s a softer approach than the alternative which is towing,” explained Grillo. “You have to ask yourself, ‘would I rather be towed or booted?’ It’s a safer, more effective approach for violators and drivers.”
According to Grillo, private booting is less expensive than towing. You also don’t have to find transportation to the tow lot, so it’s therefore faster to rectify the situation. There is less chance of damage to the vehicle and every driver that is booted has the right to appeal to the company.
Grillo also made the case for the survival of his business. “We’re real people here,” Grillo said. “There are 35 families that rely on this business for their livelihood.”
Grillo seemed optimistic that something can be worked out that makes everyone happy. “I think there will be a lot of changes for the better and to ease a lot of people’s minds,” said Grillo. “We’ll do whatever it takes to make this work.”
About a week ago, we reported that 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack was making a move to oust Global Parking Management from doing business in the 32nd Ward.
This was going to be accomplished by making an amendment to the ordinance governing private booting.
The alderman, when he spoke with The Expired Meter, seemed quite frustrated with the number of complaints and alleged altercations connected with Global Parking. He seemed to have made up his mind on the matter and it was all but a done deal.
But, I’m getting some unconfirmed reports that this may not be the case.
It seems there were just too many complaints.
That’s what 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack and his staff believed when he decided to try to eliminate the practice of private booting in the 32nd Ward.
“We’ve had numerous complaints,” said Patryk Piwinski, an assistant to Ald. Wagauspack. “I myself have fielded four or five (complaints).”
When we say private booting, we are essentially talking about the only company licensed in Chicago to perform this type of “service”–Global Parking Management.
According to Piwinski, the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s” back was a police report of an assault on an individual by a Global Parking Management employee. The altercation allegedly occurred at the Village Discount Outlet parking lot on Roscoe and Hoyne, in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on Saturday, November 22nd.
“That was the turning point,” said Piwinski.
As Piwinksi explained by e-mail, Waguespack, a member of the city’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection, is going to put forward a revision to a standing ordinance that will remove the 32nd Ward from the list of wards in which Global Parking Management can operate.
According to Piwinski, Ald. Waguespack intends to introduce this ordinance revision today, Monday December 8th in committee meeting starting at 11 AM within or adjacent to the city council chambers in City Hall. I’m told the meeting is open to the public.
So, if you have thoughts on this issue or have a beef with Global Parking Management you would like to air in public, you should get your butt down to city hall this morning.
There are currently 16 wards in which private booting is allowed, which includes: the 1st, 14th, 21st, 25th, 27th, 30th, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 40th, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 46th, 48th and 49th wards.
If you are not familiar, private booting is the practice of affixing a boot to a vehicle parked in a private commercial parking lot.
In simpler terms, it’s if you park your car in the 7-11 parking lot, but instead of going into the 7-11 to buy a Slurpee and this month’s Swank magazine, you cross the street to get lunch at Jumbo Jim’s Hotdogs.
Instead of having your car towed, (because you are technically trespassing in this parking lot because you’re not shopping at 7-11), a dude from a company hired by the 7-11 slaps a boot on your car and won’t release it until you cough up $115.
Global Parking Management has rules posted on very large signs that spell out the terms on which you can park in one of the lot’s they oversee.
In essence, you can park there if you patronize the business or businesses that are listed on the sign. However, if you go into another business or elsewhere and NOT directly back to your vehicle, you will be booted. You can be booted even if you shopped at the store(s) in question, but stop into Starbucks for a coffee on the way back to the parking lot.
Here’s more info on the practice of private booting by Global Parking Management.