View Full Version : Recruiter car to be sold over parking tickets?

07-27-07, 07:29 AM
Recruiter car to be sold over parking tickets?
The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jul 27, 2007 7:58:34 EDT

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A parking official is threatening to auction off a Marine Corps car tied to nearly $5,000 in unpaid tickets, saying he’s frustrated by months of trying to persuade the military service to pay parking fines on recruiters’ cars.

“We’ve tried to be reasonable, but all we’ve been getting is the run-around,” said White Plains Parking Commissioner Albert Moroni. He said the car would be put up for sale in September unless the fines were paid.

“I’m not trying to embarrass the Marine Corps, but it owes a substantial amount of money,” he said.

The Corps, which runs a recruiting station in White Plains, owes a total of $93,805 in fines from 2,000 summonses dating to 2001, said parking violations supervisor Claudine Ferrarra.

The recruiting station referred a call early Friday to Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Darbouze, a spokesman for Recruiting Station Albany. He told The Journal News he was unaware of the city’s plans to sell the car and had no immediate comment.

The city periodically auctions vehicles confiscated from scofflaws, defined as owners who fail to pay fines on three or more tickets issued within 18 months.

Marine Corps officials said in December they would work toward a settlement with the city. Moroni said that he met several times with Corps officials and held off towing Corps cars until April 16, when authorities came across the car now scheduled for sale. The vehicle, bearing U.S. government license plates and a Marine Corps decal, was parked in a city garage without payment, according to Moroni.

The car had accumulated 94 parking tickets since 2006, and the unpaid fines had reached $4,850, according to the city. Authorities applied a boot — a device used to immobilize vehicles — and later towed the car to a city impound lot.


07-27-07, 07:59 AM

Mike Roy/The Journal News
Parking Commissioner Albert Moroni stands beside a Marine Corps recruiting car, a Chevrolet Impala, that was impounded because the Marines owe more than $90,000 in parking fines.

White Plains parking chief challenges Marine Corps to pay up or lose a car

(Original publication: July 27, 2007)

WHITE PLAINS — Call it Operation No Free Parking.

Seven months after The Journal News reported that U.S. Marine Corps recruiters are the city's biggest scofflaws, White Plains Parking Commissioner Albert Moroni said a "captured'' Corps car that's been impounded would be auctioned off in September if the leathernecks don't pay their parking fines.

"We've tried to be reasonable,'' Moroni said of the city's war on scofflaws, "but all we've been getting is lip service and the runaround. Right now, the car is scheduled to be sold at the September scofflaw auction.''

Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Darbouze, a spokesman for Recruiting Station Albany, said he was unaware of the impending sale and had no immediate comment.

The Marine Corps owes $93,805 in parking fines on a whopping 2,000 tickets dating back to 2001, said Claudine Ferrarra, parking violations supervisor. Ferrarra and her staff worked with the federal General Services Administration to determine the Marine Corps owes the bulk of the $111,000 in unpaid parking fines for 26 cars with federally issued license plates in White Plains. Vehicles with diplomatic plates were a distant second on the list, owing $5,910, followed by U.S. Army recruiters, who owe $3,575 in fines. The city defines scofflaws as vehicle owners who receive three tickets in 18 months and fail to pay the fines.

"The Marines are by far the biggest scofflaws in the city,'' Ferrarra said. "We've spent a lot of time trying to straighten this out. It would be nice if they would take care of it. They're not above the law - they have to pay their tickets like everybody else.''

Although Marine Corps officials said in December that they would negotiate a settlement with the city to achieve parking peace with honor, Moroni, a self-described "reluctant warrior,'' said the "devil dogs" have done little more than talk the talk.

"I've had meetings with top brass from the Marines,'' he said. "I met with two different full-bird colonels. Both times they seemed very sincere and assured me that this would be taken care of, but in the end I never heard from either of them again. I'm not trying to embarrass the Marine Corps, but it owes a substantial amount of money."

The commissioner said he offered to intercede with City Court judges to reduce the fines by half and he held off on booting or towing Marines' recruiter cars while the scofflaw peace talks continued. That truce ended April 16, when a silver Chevrolet Impala, complete with a Marine Corps decal and U.S. government license plates, was booted after it was found parked at the city-owned garage next to the Galleria mall with no money in the meter. A computer check showed that since January 2006, the car had racked up 94 parking tickets with unpaid fines totalling $4,850.

Apparently the few recruiters who work out of the Corps' Post Road station weren't too proud of their car getting the boot. No foot soldier showed up to pay the fines and, on April 16, Moroni had the car towed to the city's Ferris Avenue impound lot. He kept it out of a May scofflaw auction but said the truce is now over and the car will be sold in the September unless the jarheads wave the white flag and pay up.

When the GSA heard about that, he said, it implied that he could be arrested by the FBI. Despite the possibility of becoming a scofflaw prisoner of war, Moroni is not retreating. He won't track offenders from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, but he has ordered parking enforcement officers to keep their eyes peeled for more spoils in White Plains, which could result in a surge of government vehicle impounds.

"Our staff has now been told to tow any scofflaw federal government vehicles they come across,'' Moroni said. "We've tried to accommodate the government, but they've put me in a predicament where I have to do something. If John Doe from Battle Hill's car gets impounded, he comes in and pays his fines. The Marines should do the same."

Reach Richard Liebson at rliebson@lohud.com or 914-694-3534.


07-27-07, 10:12 AM
Sounds like the dirtbag is running for office.

They ought to send a fire team in there to retrieve it from the lot. Have some press to embedded to cover the operation.

Operation: Repo Wheels.

07-27-07, 10:21 AM
What is the commissioners name? MORON i?

07-27-07, 11:17 AM
well lets 93.000 in fines, a new car would cost less then 20,000 so let them have it

07-28-07, 06:10 AM
Scofflaw Marines make strategic retreat from White Plains

(Original publication: July 28, 2007)

WHITE PLAINS - In a classic battlefield move, the U.S. Marine Corps has made a tactical withdrawal in the city's scofflaw war, pulling all of its recruiter cars with unpaid parking tickets out of town.

The maneuver came after Parking Commissioner Albert Moroni said he would impound and auction off any such vehicle found within the city limits.

"Currently there are no government vehicles operating within the city of White Plains that have a delinquent parking violation," Marine Capt. Donald A. Caetano wrote in an e-mail reply to questions from The Journal News. "Therefore, there would not be a reason to tow them."

Caetano, public affairs officer for the 1st Marine Corps Recruiting District, said in the e-mail that "the Marine Corps has a long tradition of upholding our nation's laws and standards" and that "we always strive to be upstanding members of the community."

To that end, he said, the Marines will continue to work with White Plains to bring parking ticket peace.

"We are still in discussions with White Plains and are committed to rectifying this issue," Caetano said.

The latest move comes after The Journal News reported yesterday that Moroni was planning to auction off a Marine recruiter's car that had amassed $4,850 in unpaid parking fines on 94 tickets issued since January 2006. The car was towed from the city-owned Galleria garage in April and is scheduled to be sold in a September "scofflaw auction."

All told, $93,805 in parking fines are owed on some 2,000 tickets issued to government-owned cars driven by Marine recruiters since 2001. In December, the newspaper reported that Marine recruiters are the city's biggest scofflaws, owing the bulk of the $111,000 on tickets written for federally licensed vehicles in White Plains. The city defines scofflaws as vehicle owners who receive three tickets in 18 months and fail to pay the fines.

"Of course the Marines should pay the fines - everybody who gets tickets has to pay," said Taurino Juarez of White Plains, who was shelling out $470 at the city Parking Violations Bureau yesterday to have a boot removed from his Ford Mustang. "The city doesn't give us a break, so why should they give the Marines a break?"

At the Galleria garage, Jennifer Balcone of North Castle removed an overtime notice from her car and said she would pay the $2 fee right away, before it escalated.

"I learned my lesson two years ago,'' she said. "I had to pay $800 to get my car back. The Marines should pay their tickets right away - it's cheaper and they won't stack up so much."

Moroni, who has described himself as "a reluctant warrior," said he has had talks with the Marines, the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal General Services Administration about the scofflaw situation, but so far hasn't seen any concrete results.

"If Capt. Caetano is serious about getting this settled, then I'm delighted and I look forward to seeing it happen," he said.

Caetano said that since the original newspaper stories appeared in December, the Marines and White Plains have put a notification system in place to prevent scofflaw problems from getting out of hand in the future.

Asked what impact the towing and possible sale of the "captured" Marine car has had on recruiting, Caetano said that while "the loss of any one car can be overcome, all resources that assist in recruiting are important, and we hope the city of White Plains understands this."

He added that Recruiting Station Albany, which covers the Lower Hudson Valley, "has been a successful area for Marine recruitment."

The Marines' tactic of removing their scofflaw cars is reminiscent of Gen. George Washington's series of strategic retreats in the 1776 Battle of White Plains, which eventually frustrated British and Hessian troops to the point that they marched back to New York City while Washington escaped to New Jersey.

Moroni yesterday said he won't give up as easily as the Redcoats did.

"It remains to be seen whether all of their scofflaw vehicles have been removed," he said. "We will continue to tow any that we come across. The city is not anti-military or anti-Marine Corps. This is something that's been caused by the bureaucracy.

"We are talking about a significant amount of money here, and I have no choice but to pursue it."

Reach Richard Liebson at rliebson@lohud.com or 914-694-3534.

Sgt Leprechaun
07-28-07, 07:42 AM
I wonder how much White Plains gets in "homeland security" money? Maybe they could just toss em a bone; give em some more pork, like a new bridge or something.

I mean, really. Guess they don't have much else to do up there.