CHICAGO Oct 15 Chicago will launch an
operational and financial management audit of its controversial
parking meter lease deal with a private company that is seeking
more than $50 million in reimbursements from the city, Mayor
Rahm Emanuel said on Monday.
The third-largest U.S. city received $1.157 billion in 2008
from the 75-year lease with Chicago Parking Meters LLC (CPM), an
investor group that includes Morgan Stanley.
The deal, which resulted in parking meter rate hikes, was
slammed in 2009 by a Chicago inspector general report that said
it undervalued the system of 36,000 parking meters by $974
Emanuel, who inherited the lease from former mayor Richard
Daley, has balked at reimbursing the group for out-of-service
meters due to street closures and other reasons.
"This administration will continue to fight any charges sent
by CPM that we feel are not accurate or justified," Emanuel said
in a statement. "As I have said before, the city does not cut a
check simply because we receive a bill."
The audit, which will begin next month, is expected to
include interviews with top CPM officials and representatives
from Morgan Stanley. The city will look into CPM's compliance
with hiring requirements for minorities and other groups and
revenue reconciliation between transactions and collections
records, according to the statement.
The mayor said similar audits will be conducted for the
city's other leases for parking garages and the Skyway toll
"These comprehensive, regular audits will help ensure
accountability and keep those behind the agreements honest and
responsible," Emanuel said.
A spokeswoman for CPM did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. Chicago tapped parking meter deal proceeds
to help close budget gaps under Daley.