Emanuel wants audit of parking meter deal - FOX 32 News Chicago

Emanuel wants audit of parking meter deal

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Mayor Emanuel said Monday he wants to put the company that runs Chicago's parking meters under the microscope.

He's not sure what will turn up, but he suspects taxpayers have been getting a raw deal.

Emanuel continued to question the parking meter lease on Monday without mentioning his predecessor, Mayor Daley, who signed off on it.

The mayor is clearly looking for some way to wiggle out of the controversial long-term lease.

The Lyric Opera's Renee Fleming, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, helped the mayor unveil a new plan for the arts in Chicago's schools. Then the subject changed to the city's billion dollar lease of its parking meters.

"Well that's also artful, but it's not a pretty piece of art, let's just say that," Emanuel said.

Emanuel wants an independent audit of the seventy-five year parking meter lease to Chicago Parking Meters LLC, Under the deal, the company's not just collecting from the meters. It's also submitting bills to the city for meters from which it's unable to collect anything like those where city streets are closed for repair.

"I don't want a bad deal to get worse. And I expect an audit because they keep sending us bills, expecting us to pay them, which I'm not going to do," he said.

So far, the city's withheld about $50 million supposedly due to the company. The mayor wouldn't predict whether the audit might give him the ammunition he needs to break the contract, although it sounded like that's his objective.

" I want to have a good look at their books because they are not a good corporate partner for the city and it's a bad deal for the city and I'm going to make sure that we stop it," Emanuel said.

"It's terrible for the taxpayers. It's a very bad deal for the taxpayer. Mayor Daley should never have signed it," said Mike Brockway, of TheExpiredMeter.com.

Brockway, whose website follows parking issues, agrees that the city got a bad deal but says it's unlikely an audit would lead to the meters getting tossed because they're working very well.

"You can't have any criticism of the company on the way they've run things. They're very, very efficient. Much more efficient than the city is, or was," Brockway said.

We reached out to Chicago Parking Meters LLC for reaction, but the company never got back to us.

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