John Liu: Companies Get Free Pass on Parking Fines, While Regular New Yorkers Suffer
While regular New Yorkers get waxed with ever-increasing parking fines, big corporations often get a pass from the city, Comptroller John Liu says in a report released today. The city has failed to collect more than $9 million in fines from these companies.
A Department of Finance official disputed the accuracy of the audit.
Under two program called "Delivery Solutions," and the Commercial Abatement Program, the city gives discounts on parking tix. To get into the programs, the firms are supposed to pay all outstanding tickets, give up their right to challenge summonses, and pay their fines within 15 days.
But Liu found that the city failed to penalize companies which didn't live up to the agreement, and let them continue to remain in the discount programs.
As of last April, there were 924 companies in the Stipulated Fine program owing $7.7 million, and 593 companies in the commercial abatement program in debt for $1.5 million.
For example, Federal Express owes almost $1 million in unpaid fines, Verizon, $480,000, Frito-Lay, $213,000, Anheuser-Busch, $168,000. In all, those four companies owe almost $2 million in upaid fines.
Here's the kicker: The city used to have a discount fine program for regular folks, but that program was canceled in January.
In a response contained in the audit, finance department officials said the agency is working on a solution to the problem which should be ready by the end of the year. They also said the agency spotted the problem in 2011.
"The audit is not accurate," says Owen Stone, a spokesman for the city Department of Finance. "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."
In 2010 and 2011, Federal Express paid $18.7 million in parking tickets, or 97 percent of what was owed, a DOF official said. And companies actually pay their tickets at a higher percentage than private motorists.