The Investigators

Jun 12, 2013 2:30 AM by Tom McNamara

Deadbeat Drivers owe Tucson taxpayers thousands

TUCSON - Nothing can ruin a trip downtown, like the dreaded parking ticket.

Most of us know what it's like to get one, and to pay the fine that goes along with it.

But there is another side of this issue - the deadbeats.

Would you believe there are people, and a company, who owe the City of Tucson not hundreds, but thousands of dollars in unpaid fines?

The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted to find out who those biggest offenders are, how much each owes and what's being done about it.

Some of these parking tickets date back to the late 1990's. Everything from an expired meter, to parking in a handicap space, to parking without a permit for a residential zone.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators went to Tucson City Court Administrator Christopher Hale, to see how aggressive the city actually is in going after these top ticket offenders.

"I think the courts are as aggressive as we can be. The problem with parking tickets is that there aren't a lot of enforcement mechanisms to collect."

The News 4 Tucson investigators asked for a list of the top five parking offenders, and here's what we found out:

• James Francis Cox owes about $10,500.

• James Peeken owes more than $14,000.

• Rodger Dale Murphey Jr. more than $15,000 in fines.

• John Webber Carlson owes more than $16,000 in fines for tickets dating back to 1994.

We went looking, but couldn't find any of them.

Topping the list is a company called PV Holding Corporation. They are the parent company of Avis and Budget.

This emailed statement is how they explained the outstanding $20,000 debt they owe Tucson taxpayers:

"We are working with Tucson City Court to resolve all outstanding violations."

"I think, you know, we will be giving them a call, because I think it's probably easier to get a rental car company or an agency to pay up than it would be an individual" says Hale. "They know who they rented those cars to on specific days, so they should be able to either collect from them or pay us and then try to collect from them."

Hale says about 25% of people never pay their parking tickets.

With other types of tickets, ADOT can suspend your registration or driver license. The agency that handles collections for the court can even intercept your state tax return. Though, in order to do that, they need your social security number, not just the number on your license plate.

We caught up with one Tucson man, Britt Berry, who was headed into City Court, to pay off his $300.00 ticket. He's doing what he can to pay what he owes, $15.00 at a time.

"The companies ought to be able to pay, but the individuals, you know it depends on their case. I've witnessed people right here parked in a handicapped spot without handicap plates; they don't do nothing about it."

It's important to note four of the five top parking ticket offenders, including PV Holding Corporation, also made our list when we did this story nearly five years ago.

If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com

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