City Council: Unauthorized Tickets May Be ‘$1M Mistake’

Written by Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4)- The Denver City Council began pressing for answers Wednesday about nearly 31,000 parking tickets handed out in the last two years by unauthorized parking agents. The debacle was revealed Monday night in a CBS4 investigation (Full Story).

“Come on, you can’t do this,” said Councilman Charlie Brown on Wednesday. “This is significant. It’s hurting the credibility of the collection department.”

He characterized what the CBS4 investigation revealed as potentially being “a million dollar mistake.”

The CBS4 probe revealed that Denver vehicle control agent Bill Shirland’s authority to hand out parking tickets as a “special police officer” expired in January 2009. Yet he was back on the streets, writing 30,030 citations through December 2010.

Another vehicle control agent, Paul Lucero, never received authorization as a special police officer. Yet he was put on the street in 2010 and wrote 694 tickets in just under three months.

Both men have now been pulled off the streets and placed in jobs that do not involve issuing tickets.

Assuming some of the citations were paid late, the value of the tickets in question could approach $1 million, money the city is now considering refunding.

James Mejia, a former city official and current candidate for Mayor, said Wednesday the issue is black and white.

“I’d like to see the city refund the tickets that were given,” said Mejia. “It’s about playing by the rules. If citizens have to play by the rules the city has to play by the rules as well. Give back the money you’ve collected if the people were not authorized to do so. It’s as simple as that.”

At a City Council committee meeting Wednesday, Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz asked the city attorney’s office for answers. Were the tickets valid, and if not, how much might the city have to refund?

City Attorney David Broadhurst told Faatz the tickets are “currently under review.” He said the issue is “up in the air at this point.”

Related Story: CBS4 Investigation Reveals $1M In Questionable Parking Tickets

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  • druid0621

    And make sure you add interest to the repayments. This is a disgrace, and points to the reason we have lost faith in our government and law enforcement community. I know people who were arrested on bogus charges, paid bail and then magically their charges were dropped. Others have been told that they never paid traffic fines, and had to pay twice. And this is why we pay taxes?

  • jwesty66

    i wonder how many cars where booted because the owner did not pay a parking ticket that was not valid?,would they get a refund on the money they had to pay to get the boot removed?

  • Andy

    Honestly I just don’t get what special authorization is needed to hand out parking tickets. This story does nothing to explain what rule was broken that made them unauthorized.

  • NDeeZ

    I’m with you, Andy…they were obviously hired and trained to do the job.

    This is like trying to get out of a speeding ticket not because you weren’t speeding, but on the technicality of a speed gun license having expired.

    A traffic court referee should only allow someone to contest a ticket if they can offer proof that they DIDN’T do the infraction–time-stamped photo of broken parking meter, etc.

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