A new parking problem downtown has nothing to do with the meters. Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) says some valet attendants have found a way to rip off drivers.
The scam involves photoshopping fake parking meter receipts so that valet drivers can park an unsuspecting car owner's car for free on the street, despite a city law mandates that the car should be parked in a lot or garage. If the vehicle gets a ticket anyway, Reilly said the valet person just tosses it in the garbage.
"We have evidence of valet parking companies distributing these counterfeit parking receipts like playing cards, stacks of them at a time," Reilly said.
Reilly says he's convinced that most, if not all valet operators skirt city laws whenever they can to pocket more cash.
He's proposed a $500 fine for using a fake parking receipt instead of the current $65 ticket. He's also proposing that valet receipts be time stamped at drop off and pick up so that car owners have recourse if they get a ticket in the mail.
"It's bad enough that they're parking these all over metered parking spots, but they're not paying for them and that's an abuse we want to correct," Reilly said.
Restaurant management at Italian Village support the idea.
"We've been here for 86 years, so we have third and fourth generations. If they find out that something fishy going on, we don't want that around us either," manager Frank Sulita said.
Despite the allegations, the valet parking companies NBC 5 spoke with all claimed to operate by the book.
"I'm an honest person. I've never done anything like that, never even thought about doing anything like that," valet attendant Erik Garrido said.
If Reilly's proposal is passed, it will only apply to the downtown core.