Companies owe city $9M in parking tickets

October 18, 2012 8:04:08 PM PDT
The city has failed to collect more than $9 million in parking fines from companies.

All Eyewitness News had to do was whisper the words parking ticket and New Yorkers had plenty to say.

We got an earful at just the mentioning of big companies with unpaid parking tickets.

"I've been hammered with parking tickets. I pay them they should pay them too," said Elliot Stern, a driver.

"Those companies should pay like everyone else," said Reginald Peoples, a driver.

New York City Comptroller John Liu says the biggest offenders since April is Federal Express at just under $1 million.

Verizon is just shy of $500,000.

Frito-Lay has over $200,000.

Anheuser-Busch has $169,000.

"People are outraged anger but the constant ticket blitzes they are facing and the City of New York let's these big tickets off the hook," Liu said.

The Department of Finance offers commercial fleets discounts on parking tickets as long as they waive the right to challenge tickets and agree to pay fines within 15 days.

For example, 20 companies went from nearly $4 million in fines to $923,000.

Liu says these companies should lose the discount program privilege so the city can pursue civil judgments, deny vehicle registrations, and tow vehicles with unpaid parking tickets.

"This audit highlights the problem. We issued our recommendations; we hope they follow the recommendations. It looks like the Department of Finance is already putting together a system in response to our audit," Liu said.

But the Department of Finance says, "The audit is not accurate. The fact is Finance has collected 99 percent of the revenue associated with fines issued to companies enrolled in this program over the past two years. Finance is already going above and beyond what the comptroller has recommended to continue to improve on our strong collection rates."

For its part Verizon says, "Verizon has thousands of vehicles across the City, with which we deliver quality phone, Internet and TV service to New Yorkers. The company is billed, and subsequently pays in a timely manner all valid parking tickets."

FedEx Express said, "FedEx Express works hard to meet the service expectations of our customers. In New York, as in most heavily congested areas, it is a daily challenge find parking space. It is a balance try to adhere to parking regulations while also striving to meet the pick-up and delivery requirement of our customers. New York City recognizes the parking challenges and has a delivery solutions program for commercial carriers. One part of the program allows us to better manage the ticketing process through weekly ticket reports and a penalty-free period to address them. Another part of the program allows us to waive the right to contest parking tickets and pay a reduced fine. Processing the checks to pay such fines, at times, may extend longer than 30 days. However, FedEx does pay its penalties in accordance with our agreement with the City of New York. In fact, FedEx paid more than $2 million to the city in the months of June - August."

Either way, some residents feel it's a double standard.

"I've gotten tickets and they've made sure I paid those tickets. If you don't pay it in time you'll get a late fee larger than the original ticket. It's unjust," said Etienne Muhammad, a driver.

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