CHICAGO (CBS) — Drivers who have unpaid parking tickets in Chicago have to worry about more than just having their state income tax refunds seized to pay off their debts; the city is also taking money out of some seniors’ pension checks.
Two south suburban seniors say they feel violated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the state government. Dora Green and Clantcha Miller were both surprised to see the city of Chicago took $259 out of their state pension checks. Both are retired state workers.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser spoke with them at their church, Good Shepherd Lutheran, in Robbins.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
Green said there are three things you don’t mess with: “My momma, my man, and my money.”
Green and Miller said they’re not disputing the tickets, which include $100 tickets, $140 in late fees, and $15 in processing charges. They’re upset that the money came out of their pension checks, without their knowledge.
“They’re going to go into my money, without my permission? That’s a violation to me,” Green said. “They have robbed, stole and done everything to Chicago, now they’re starting on the suburbs. I don’t have nothing to say to none of them.”
Miller had a similar story to tell.
“My daughter did get a red light ticket. They never sent any more warnings. They sent the original ticket,” she said. “I think it was really … bogus is the word, but it’s a better word than that one.”
Both were aware of Emanuel’s parking ticket deal that allows the city to take overdue parking fines from state tax returns. But they couldn’t believe it when their pension checks were shorted.
Miller wanted to know what happens if someone can’t afford medicine, because their pension check was garnished.
“I could be laying out or staying at the hospital, because I couldn’t get myself the medication that I need, because you took my money without a warrant,” she said.
Pastor Anthony Williams said docking their pension checks to pay off parking tickets is “abuse.” He thinks it’s unconstitutional, and he’s demanding lawmakers do something about it.
“I think it’s abuse of civil liberties, and that’s why our legislators need to be aware of what’s happening,” he said.
If it’s seniors’ pensions now, he said, it will be Social Security checks next.