I have been waiting and waiting for someone to step up for all Chicago citizens and give Mayor Daley what he deserves. And government watchdog group Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization finally made my wishes come true. They filed a lawsuit over Chicago's parking meter lease:
See the complaint here or here.
A citizens' advocacy group sued Chicago today in an attempt to have a court declare the city's deal to lease parking meters to a private company "illegal and void."
The suit, filed by the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization, claims the city did not have authority to lease its streets for an "excessive period" and that the city can't pay police to enforce parking violations for a private company. It also says the city can't ask the Illinois secretary of state to suspend driving privileges for failure to pay tickets issued at private meters.
More on the lawsuit:
The city's response so far has been predictable:
In their lawsuit, the Independent Voters of Illinois along with Chicago resident Aviva Patt charge the parking meter privatization deal "unconstitutionally obligates the city to expend public funds in order to police, enforce and maintain the privately held and privately controlled parking meter system" -- a violation of the Illinois Constitution which states "public funds, property or credit shall only be used for public purposes." Earlier this year, the city leased some 36,000 meters to Chicago Parking Meters LLC for $1.15 billion for 75 years -- a move drawing the ire of motorists who are seeing a steep climb in rates.
At the heart of the suit is a belief that portions of the agreement are illegal, says the watchdog group's attorney Clint Krislov.
"The streets are a public way that the city is not authorized to lease to a single entity," he said, noting that the term of the contract is "excessive." "It ties up public assets and commits city council beyond the term of this future city council. To tie up a public way for an excessive period -- government doesn't have the authority to do that," Krislov said, citing case law.
The City of Chicago Law Department had very little comment on the lawsuit but in a prepared statement, spokesperson Jennifer Hoyle said, “We have obtained a copy of the IVI-IVO’s lawsuit regarding the parking meter concession agreement. We have not been served with this lawsuit and it is not clear to us whether or not it’s actually been filed. However, based on our initial review we believe it is wholly without merit, both factually and legally. We do not believe it’s appropriate to comment in any further detail about this potential litigation, except to say that we will aggressively defend this transaction in court if the suit is filed.”See more coverage here.
Thank you IVI-IPO. I couldn't be happier right now. I will definitely be following this suit closely, so check back for more.
Also, in case you missed it - more good news coming out of City Hall. Former City Worker Accused of Writing Herself $20,000 Check.