(Chicago, IL) – August 16, 2010. The Chicago parking meter privatization issue that has bedeviled Mayor Richard Daley since its controversial inception shows no signs of abating any time soon as Chicago news media organizations and a local lawyer continue in hot pursuit.
We reported nearly 10 days ago that the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times are working on additional parking meter stories likely intended to embarrass the mayor and that a local attorney may be preparing a lawsuit against the city on behalf of consumers “victimized” by the meters.
Both Tribune reporter Joseph Ryan and Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman are seeking records from City Hall on parking meter revenue generated before the privatization and after. Spielman is looking for revenue data one year prior to the 75-year lease deal with Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Ryan wants the data going back to 2005.
Now the Chicago News Cooperative is working on a fresh story. Ex-ace Chicago Reader Reporter Mike Dumke, the group’s latest addition to its news team, is hunting down information to learn how much the City of Chicago paid Chicago Parking Meters LLC to close the old meters. A fee for everything. He also wants a copy of the company’s annual report for extra clues to the business.
Meanwhile, Daniel Edelman, a class action attorney with Edelman, Combs Latturner & Goodwin, is asking Daley’s Department of Revenue for records from February 2009 through the present regarding complaints lodged with the city over inaccurate meters. Edelman’s legal career has been focused on consumer class action lawsuits.
In addition to a raft of potential damaging meter stories coming from both papers, the city could be facing a meter lawsuit, too. Ugh.
The unpopularity of the parking meter deal is reflected in a recent Chicago Tribune poll which reported last month that “[f]our out of five voters surveyed disapprove of Daley’s handling of the parking meter lease.”
More bad meter news will only complicate a campaign next year for a seventh term should Mayor Daley decide to run again. However, all signs point to another run for the fifth floor.
In the meantime, with fresh meter assaults potentially coming, Daley may have no safe quarter to spare him the grief–much like city residents who too are short of spare quarters.
If the reporters get their hands on the sought after records with too many hitches or delays, look for some of the some stories to pop around Labor Day.