Parking Meter Firm Bills City $2.1M For Lost Revenue From Street Closures

CHICAGO (CBS) — Another week, another embarrassing detail concerning the city’s parking meter monopoly; Chicago Parking Meters LLC has sent City Hall another bill for lost revenue from the city’s parking meters.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, the company is billing the city $2.2 million for lost parking revenue due to various street closures.

According to the company, everything from broken water mains to film shoots blocked off streets where drivers would normally park at meters.

Chicago officials who spoke to CBS 2 about the latest bill from Chicago Parking Meters LLC (CPM) were livid and some were even calling for the mayor to break the parking meter contract.

The six corners intersection of Damen, North and Milwaukee avenues was shut down six times last year for movie shoots and free street festivals.

“Anytime that the city has to do something to the street – let’s say, a water main break goes down, or they have to repave, or there’s a street festival – the parking meter company has the ability, through the contract, to bill the city for the lost revenue,” said Mike Brockway, creator “The Expired Meter” blog, which broke the news of this latest meter deal surprise.

READ: The Expired Meter’s report

In 2009, the bill for such lost revenue was $533,000. Last year, it was $1.6 million.

“You’re going to see a bigger number in 2011 and as the rates go up, that means that they can bring in more revenue for it,” Brockway said. “The closures are going to be more expensive every year as we go forward.”

Last week, the company sent City Hall a $13 million bill from lost revenue from drivers who used disabled parking placards to get free parking at the city’s meters.

“It was built right into the contract and, just like any contract, if you sign your name to it, you have to pay up,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who has slammed the parking meter deal from the beginning as one of only five aldermen to vote against the $1.2 billion, 75-year lease of the city’s parking meters.

For Waguespack, it’s CPM’s next big revenue target that has him worried: non-profit street festivals. There are 30 such festivals each year in the 32nd Ward alone.

“They haven’t had to pay and I don’t know if that’s been some kind of gentleman’s agreement between the former mayor and CPM, but it looks like this is something that could come up,” he said.

City officials said it assessed enough in fees to utility firms, filmmakers and others responsible for street closures to cover the money owed to CPM for those closures.

Public reaction to the latest revelations about the parking meter deal was predictably negative.

“They’re making money and they’re squeezing for more and the city’s just going to hand it to them,” Jack Orr said.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. You gotta pay … what the city gots to offer and I don’t like that at all,” said Mike Stevenson.

“The aldermen signed it. We elected them. We gotta pay for it,” Caroline McGuire said.

CPM declined to comment on the matter. The mayor’s office responded with this statement:

“We did not make this deal with CPM, but are contractually obligated to follow it. We will continue to do our due diligence on every request from CPM to ensure that we are paying what we owe and nothing more, as it is our responsibility to taxpayers.”

But before Mayor Rahm Emanuel left for a two-week vacation, he said just because the meter company sent him a bill for lost parking meter revenue doesn’t mean he has to pay it. He said he is disputing the $13 million bill for lost revenue from disabled parking and he plans an investigation.

If the numbers don’t add up, Emanuel said he won’t pay the full amount billed by CPM.

CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

More from Dana Kozlov
  • Tom Nguyen

    Daley and all the alderman who vote for this parking meter contact should be put in JAIL!

    • Roberta Waker

      I totally agree. These people were elected to represent the PEOPLE and they obviously did not do that with this contract. THEY should pay these fees or go to jail. You can’t put voters in jail or they would NEVER vote for anything or anyone and we would really have chaos in this country. Plus, your vote is confidential so how would you find out who voted for what anyway? Not too smart.

      • duhDaley

        The meter contract that keeps on taking! Imagine, a contract in which a private co. has the right to raise meter rates at will — which the company has done — and then ALSO write into the contract that the city would reimburse them for any street closures. What kind of IDIOT represented the city in this deal?? Just amazing. Now for my next concern — I hope that the city does not somehow get the residents of greater Cook County to have to help pay for this stupidity! Wow.

  • Jim Hamilton

    @ Tom then what are you going to jail everyone who voted them into office? HAHAHA Cesspool got what it voted for

    I asure you Rahm and his yes men are no different at the core you just keep on voting democrat and expect a different out come

    • Tom

      Jim, good one haha….True, The jails is not big enough for all these idiot voters. But these corrupt government official think they are above the law. Daley will receive almost $200K in pension every year! This is Daley and all the corrupt alderman doing. We should protest and make them paid for it. Which is unlikely, but I would love to see that the government look into the dealing of the meter contract and other contract during Daley term as Mayor!

    • Yard Ape

      Spot on as usual Jim !!!!



  • tom sharp

    Send this blog to Coke and all the other companies that put nitwit Daley on their Board of Directors for big money. Any company that doesn’t dump this crook/idiot within a week should be sold short for a nice profit!

    • Geena

      GOOD IDEA1I can only imagine the shock and awe as Mayor Emanuel and his people go through the books at OUR City Hall. Daley Just give thanks he is gone or the city would be in total default by 2013,

  • Unboundtrucker

    Some more politicians trying to get out of paying they’re bills….what the hell’s new??

  • Andrew Petersen

    Aldermen were given less than 72 hours to read, review, debate and pass the bill.

    Former Mayor Daley has Family on the Morgan Stanley crew that run CPM.

    A large number of “connected” aldermen got meters pulled out of their wards Before the Lease was signed.

    • Jim Hamilton

      less than 72 hrs to make a 75 year contract some smart people up there in that Cesspool (Chicago)

    • daleyFallout

      Right — Daley has family with Morgan Stanley… doesn’t surprise me at all, in fact it makes perfect sense! But who investigated? No one, of course.

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  • Morgan S.

    The Parking Meter deal has been a issue, and will continue to be, The City needs let he Public know where the review of the contract stands, do we have any chance of challenging the deal legally or are the current, and next generation’s stuck with this mess.
    AND Jim Hamilton you must have pitiful life…

  • Centurion


  • Roberta Waker

    This is ridiculous. I can’t believe “intelligent” people actually voted for this contract. THEY should be paying these fees, not the taxpayers. Time for Da Mayor to call in the heavy hitting attorneys and get out of that contract; there MUST be something he can do.

    • Jim Hamilton

      They are the ones that the people of Chicago elected to make the choices for them so no unfortunately they sold Chicago citizens out and they themselves aren’t liable. The best that this mayor can hope for is to try to buy the contract back but with what 70 plus years on it no way that will happen and besides it wouldn’t suit his agenda to even try. This is the way they have chosen to try to clean up Chicago they want to drive out any middle class and below Citizens and reserve it for the extremely wealthy.

  • Yard Ape

    Silly question – Although these idiots only had a limited window to review this contract, don’t you think atleast ONE of them MIGHT have asked a question concerning this???? I know d@ mn well there was a provision in there regarding this scam!!!!!

    I suppose it would have helped IF they actually read the contract!!!

  • daleyFallout

    To blame everything on the voters, as if they could control the Democratic Machine, is wrong. The Dem machine has had power for decades, it is not controllable by mere voters, so grow up and wake up Jim.

    • Morgan S.

      Jim Hamilton can’t wake up. hes at a tea party….

    • Jim Hamilton


      Are you suggesting that Chicago cheats on elections? Do you have proof because if you do I would love for you to expose them but something tells me you have nothing to back your alligations. All I can say is it’s your Cesspool clean it up if you don’t like it. Get off your ass and get those Democratic Machines out of there sounds like you are the one that needs to grow up and the voters need to wake up doesn’t it

  • Tom

    The metered parking system has approximately 36,000 parking meters throughout the City of Chicago. The City retains all power and authority to set rates and periods of stay and operation for all of the parking meters in the System.

    With that said, the city should lower the parking rate down!

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  • Chivi

    This money to pay this bill should come out of the politicians pocket. Mayor Daley, pay the bill. Get all those you protected to help you pay this bill off!! I’m so tired of paying taxes only to find out that it only enriches criminal’s lives instead our way of living.

  • Chivi

    Is the parking meter company owner related to the Daley family? Hm-m-m-m!!

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