Friday, May 16, 2008

Legends of Film

Is it just me or have Hollywood stars of the caliber of a Jimmy Cagney become an endangered species? Sure, we have great actors today. But can they really hold a candle to legends like Cagney or Brando?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Parking Injustice in NYC

Reported by Fox 5 New York:

A mysterious parking ticket is a ticket issued to a vehicle when the owner knows for sure their vehicle was parked nowhere close to the location written on the ticket.
The cause could be a mistake, a counterfeit license plate or fraud on the part of the ticket writers. The city does not seem very concerned about the problem.
For the past year and a half we have been reporting about innocent victims who receive tickets and threatening letters from the city to pay up. After seven stories on the subject all we get is either a “no comment” or a “we’ll look into it” from the NYPD, the agency responsible for issuing the tickets. The NYC Finance Department is responsible for the judges who rarely take an “it’s not my car” defense seriously.

There is a pattern to every mysterious ticket we’ve seen:

1) The car owner never gets the ticket on their car.
2) The car owner only finds out about the ticket after they receive late notices.
3) The owner must be willing to swear under oath that their car was not parked near the location marked on the ticket.
4) It would help the car owner’s defense if they had some type of proof of where their car was actually parked at the time the ticket was issued (security video, security pictures, time stamped parking garage receipts, ez pass records sworn affidavits from witnesses etc.)

Our latest mystery involves some people in New Jersey who’ve been getting tickets in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. At least 25 tickets were issued. It looks like this might be a situation where someone was using counterfeit or altered plates to trick the ticket writers and unfortunately have innocent people accused of parking where they never were parked..

Unfortunately for the NYPD, as we checked out each ticket we also come up with patterns of horrendously sloppy ticket writing. The incompetence we uncovered raises serious questions about the city’s true motivation in writing tickets. Is it about public safety and keeping the traffic moving or is it about making money? There’s no other industry in the country that would allow such sloppiness to continue without making serious changes. Of course, you only would want to make changes if you truly cared about the public being screwed by shady or sloppy ticket writers.

Sometimes mysterious tickets can be caused by fraud and are supported by the following facts:

1) Traffic agent Nivea Cloud was arrested last May for allegedly making up dozens of fake tickets while illegally parked on her NYPD car in a handicapped spot.

2) Traffic agent Deon Richardson was fired after Fox 5 exposed him as a ticket agent who was writing tickets for fire hydrants that don’t exist or absurd addresses.

3)A highly respected retired police detective named Louis Mattone, who was assigned to be the lead investigator to monitor ticket fraud many years ago felt that at least 20 percent of the tickets written back then (1990) were fake. The ticket agents were called “brownies” and were part of the Department of Transportation before they became part of the NYPD. He caught them doing things like writing ticket while sitting in a subway, sitting at a restaurant and he says in one case two ticket writers were caught not only writing fake tickets from a house but having an affair with each other in the same house.

4)Traffic agents admitted to Fox 5 that some of their colleagues “crack” under pressures of ticket quotas and make up fake tickets.

Final thought: The city takes in more than 500 million dollars a year in parking tickets. If just 5 percent are fake, that’s 25 million dollars a year that is being stolen from innocent people yet no one seems to be doing anything about it.

If any other industry including organized crime did this, the people responsible would wind up behind bars. So far we know of only two traffic agents who have been punished.

Don't let them get away with this! Complain about the illegal activities of the NYPD Traffic Agents & New York City Department of Finance