An investigation into L.A.'s transportation department — the folks who dole out some rather large parking tickets — found that its electronic vehicle locators cost the city $2.5 million more than a contract called for and that, despite the overrun, less than one in ten of those ubiquitous parking enforcement cars have the devices.

“A more troubling finding is that LADOT [Los Angeles Department of Transportation] had the option in May 2006, to purchase the devices for $1, but inexplicably decided to continue leasing the equipment at an additional cost of $577,584 to taxpayers over the past four years,” reads a statement from City Controller Wendy Greuel's office, which conducted the audit.

The transportation department stated that it needed to lease the equipment in order to get needed software upgrades, but the audit found no such upgrades have been performed since 2006, according to Greuel's office. Some of those devices — $141,773 worth in leasing fees — have sat in storage for nearly two years.

Overall, the LADOT “wasted at least $855,000 of taxpayer dollars and exceeded the original contract by nearly $2.5 million,” stated Greuel's office. The full audit was scheduled to be released at a Tuesday morning news conference at a parking enforcement “central yard” near County-USC Medical Center.

Greuel's office stated that it found about about the waste through a whistleblower hotline: 866-428-1514.

LA Weekly