L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel called out the mayor and City Council yesterday for allegedly taking advantage of a little-known "gold card desk" that would expedite, and, seemingly, cancel parking tickets for VIPs.
But City News Service reports that Greuel, while claiming not to have known about the program until releasing her latest audit of parking enforcement, had a staffer who used it in 2006.
Oops. CNS: dismissals
In releasing the audit, Greuel -- a candidate for mayor -- denied having any knowledge of the service when she served on the City Council, but documents and e-mails obtained by City News Service show that she knew about the "gold card desk'' in 2006, and one of her own staffers used it.
Late today, Greuel declined to comment about her previous knowledge of the service.
The gold card program was said to be responsible for the dismissal of 1,000 tickets, although details about the citations (to whom they went, where, and for how much) were not released. Greuel's office stated the dismissals happened "without any specific policies to guide the review of these citations."
And, it said:
Controller Greuel was not aware of the Gold Card Desk during her tenure as a Councilmember, and was surprised to learn that such a V.I.P. process existed for a select few.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Chief Deputy Controller Claire Bartels told City News " ... the controller believes there should no longer be a gold card desk ... This lack of transparency is simply not acceptable.
Greuel's audit found hundreds of thousands worth of lost dollars because tickets were being dismissed without being investigated within allotted time and the city was paying for a vendor to process tickets that had been voided.
Oh, and Greuel wants to be mayor, apparently.
[Added]: As if a get-out-of-parking-tickets-free card wasn't enough, read about how mayor and L.A. City Council struggle through life on $300,000 a year on taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits here.