CHICAGO (CN) – A voter group has challenged Chicago’s $1 billion, 75-year lease of its parking meters to a Morgan Stanley private investment group. The city uses taxpayer money to enforce parking violations while residents lose their licenses as a private group profits, says the suit.
A private company ies will be involved in enforcement issues that could cost drivers their licenses, actions which the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization call “illegal and unconstitutional.”
Earlier this year, the city accepted more than $1 billion from Chicago Parking Meters LLC in a 75-year lease of the city’s 36,000 on-street parking meters. Chicago Parking Meters (CPM) is made up of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, and “other entities holding a combined 1% interest,” and is “not an agent of the City of Chicago,” according to the complaint in Cook County Court.
The IVI-IPO claims, among other things, that state and city officials have wrongfully spent money to “maintain and repair CPM’s privately controlled meters,” after residents complained that meters were broken.
It questions the use of public funds for the “enforcement of parking meter rules and violations,” and the questionable nexus of a private company in a system that can result in the suspension of Illinois driver licenses after CPM took over the parking meter system and “all revenue produced from the parking meters.”
The IVI-IPO says the city’s right to regulate public streets does not give it the authority to lease any part of a street, and that Chicago has unlawfully handed over the “delegation of the city’s police power” to write parking tickets, which has been subcontracted to LAZ Parking.
The group also says that the City Council illegally deprived future councils of their “authority over important municipal functions” of the city’s public streets.
The IVI-IPO wants city and state officials enjoined from using public funds for the benefit of the privatized parking meter system and from suspending Illinois driver licenses over parking violations.
Named as defendants are Chicago Comptroller Steve Lux, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hyes.
The IVI-IPO and resident Aviva Patt are represented by Clinton Krislov.