(CBS) — Chicago’s controversial parking meter deal has cost the city and taxpayers $41 million so far – and counting.
So says Attorney Clinton Krislov, a longtime critic of Mayor Richard Daley’s billion-dollar deal to lease the city’s parking meters to Chicago Parking Meters LLC.
Company financial reports show its net revenue last year from the 36,000 meters it now operates was $68 million. The city only makes money from tickets issued for illegal parking.
Under the contract, the city must reimburse the parking meter company for any revenue lost because of road construction, festivals and other special events that block parking at one of its meters.
In 2015, the city paid the company $5 million. In 2016, that sum more than doubled to $11 million. The total for the last seven years is $41 million in reimbursements.
At that rate, Krislov estimates, “The city is going to repay the whole $1.16 billion over the course of this contract.”
Krislov heads the Center for Open Government at Kent Law School, which has analyzed 50 government privatization deals negotiated by government agencies across the country.
“Of all the privatizations we’ve looked at, this is the worst deal that’s been done,” he tells 2 Investigator Pam Zekman. “This was a model for what not to do.”
Krislov unsuccessfully sued to get the parking meter contract voided.
“Had the city chosen instead to join us in fighting, we think that the courts probably would have tossed the deal out,” he says.
A city spokesperson says the Law Department would not comment on its decision not to join the lawsuit.
Mayor Emmanuel has renegotiated certain provisions of the contract to reduce the amount of those yearly reimbursements due to blocked parking spots, by adding 685 more metered spaces and lengthening the hours of operation.
The city has also required that construction companies pay the costs for lost revenue due to building construction.
“It makes everything in the city more expensive to all of us,” Krislov says.
In a similar vein, Krislov says, the city negotiated a bad deal when it sold the Chicago Skyway in 2005.
The city sold the skyway for $1.7 billion. The company that bought it recently resold the skyway for $2.8 billion.