Friday, April 1, 2011

Ballard Administration Cancels 50 Year Parking Meter Contract; City Expects Litigation Over Cancellation

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced today that he was asking City Legal to take steps to cancel the 50 year parking meter contract for breach of contract, only one month into its implementation.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
"I feel ParkIndy was not living up to the terms of the contract," the Mayor said.  "The city contracted for new parking meters.  They just gave us meter tops, and used ones at that."

Several news reports showed ParkIndy workers had installed meter readers on top of old rusty meter bases. Lou Gerig, spokesman for ParkIndy, indicated that the company had no intention of replacing parking meters that were "functional."

Further investigation revealed that even the newer meter readers used by ParkIndy were used.  ParkIndy has also been accused of using city meter equipment, treating the taxpayer property as if that equipment belonged to the private company.

Gerig defended ParkIndy's decision not to replace the parking meters and challenged the Mayor's claim that the company had breached the contract.  "It is not the fault of ParkIndy that nobody in the administration or the council thought to specify in the contract that the City would be getting new parking meters.  Nothing in the contract requires new equipment."

Newer Meter Top Placed Upon Rusty Meter
Mayor Ballard defended his action as standing up for taxpayers.  "This administration has a long track record of making taxpayers the number one priority.  When we realized that the 50 year parking deal was bad for Indianapolis residents, we immediately pulled the plug."

In a news release, Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy criticized the timing of the decision.  "The truth is the Mayor's campaign people took a poll and found out that Indianapolis residents were overwhelming against the contract.  The truth is that Mayor Ballard wants to cancel it so it won't be used against him as a political issue.  By waiting so long he has now insured that the City will be embroiled in expensive and lengthy litigation to try to break the contract."

Corporation Counsel Samantha Karn indicated that the law firm Barnes & Thornburg had been retained to represent the City in any breach of contract litigation against ParkIndy.  When asked about a potential conflict of interest since ACS is the primary company behind "ParkIndy" and ACS is represented by Barnes & Thornburg,  B&T partner Joe Loftus, himself a lobbyist for ACS and paid adviser to the Mayor, said the law firm would deal with any conflict by erecting a wall at the the law firm so that lawyers  for the City would not share information with the firm's lawyers working for ACS on the other side of any lawsuit.


Pete Boggs said...

April Fools!

Maple Syrup Maven said...

If only it were true!

Cato said...

I wondered when I was going to get today's "special report."

Good work.