Mayor Orders Audit of Parking Meter Deal

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make sure Chicago isn't paying more than it should for parking under a controversial long-term meter contract.

Emanuel on Monday announced an independent audit to make sure parking meter revenues match the number of meters in the city and to check if operating standards are being met.

“To ensure we are responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars being paid to [Chicago Parking Meters LLC], it is imperative this administration vigilantly exercise due diligence while effectively managing each contract," Emanuel said in a statement. "These comprehensive, regular audits will help ensure accountability and keep those behind the agreements honest and responsible."

This isn't the first time Emanuel has taken on Chicago Parking Meters. When the company sent the city a series of three bills totaling more than $50 million from out-of-service parking lots and disability placards, the mayor said he would fight them.

"I can say, 'No,' in many languages if it's required," he quipped in May.

"I sent them a letter back," he said. "And let me say this, in the envelope wasn't a check. I sent them back a clear and unambiguous message: No."

Emanuel said Monday the first audit will begin in November on the concession agreement, as well as the lakefront parking garages and the Skyway concession agreements.

The audit will include interviews with top CPM officials, Morgan Stanley, financial auditors and more, his office said, and could be expanded depending on initial review.

“This administration will continue to fight any charges sent by CPM that we feel are not accurate or justified," Emanuel said. "As I have said before, the City does not cut a check simply because we receive a bill.”

In a statement, CPM said late Monday afternoon it had supplied financial information to the city per its request. The company said the information is "accurate and fair."

"We remain committed to following the provisions of our agreement with the City and conducting business in an accountable and responsible manner," the company said.

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