Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman just released his findings regarding Mayor Daley's 75-year lease of the city's parking meters. Fran Spielman has the goods: After an exhaustive, five-month analysis, Hoffman has reached the "conservative" ...
Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman just released his findings regarding Mayor Daley's 75-year lease of the city's parking meters. Fran Spielman has the goods:
After an exhaustive, five-month analysis, Hoffman has reached the "conservative" conclusion that Chicago Parking Meters LLC paid the city $974 million less than the system would have been worth to the city if it raised rates by the same amount and kept the meters for the next 75 years.
If you saw Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke's Reader article last month, this finding shouldn't be surprising. The duo reported underlying figures suggesting "the city got less than half what the system was worth." They also quoted Scott Waguespack -- one of the five alderman to vote against the deal last December -- estimating that the arrangement might be worth several billion more to Morgan Stanley, who had the successful bid on the meters. (As the inspector general said, his conclusion should be considered "conservative.")
Hoffman also challenged the City Council to do better than the ordinance passed out of the finance committee yesterday. More from the Sun-Times:
Running for cover from angry motorists, the City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on an ordinance that would mandate at least 15 days of legislative review before the sale of any city assets valued at over $100 million.
Hoffman argued that's not good enough.
He's recommending a 60-day City Council review period -- and an independent cost-benefit analysis -- after lease terms have been decided, but before companies have placed their bids.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the full city council meeting tomorrow. Rich Samuels' report on WTTW's Chicago Tonight this evening will also be worth watching. At a separate press conference today, Daley apparently gave a passionate and preemptive defense of the deal.
Finally, WBEZ has posted the full report.