Parking For Bridgeporters Only, Capice!!
Residents are complaining about illegal sales of parking permits for spots near U.S. Cellular Field.
Before players take the field in our city's major league ball parks, parking games play out on the streets around them. Residents are crying foul, asking the CBS 2 Investigators for help. Pam Zekman reports on the rampant illegal sales of parking spots that create a parking peril for the hustlers and the fans they deal with.
The 2 Investigators took a hidden camera into the neighborhood around U.S. Cellular Field. We were approached by a man on a bicycle who was about to break the law. He sold us a residential guest parking permit for $15.
On game days, the streets around U.S. Cellular Field are so full of cars with guest parking permits that some residents can't find a place to park for themselves.
It says right on the parking permits that they cannot be purchased, transferred or sold. If you violate those rules, you can be fined up to $500 or worse.
"Their car can be towed and it can end up ruining a family outing at the ballpark," said 9th District Police Commander Eugene Roy.
We bought another pass from a man for $20. We tried again with a hidden camera and he agreed to sell us another permit, but backed out of the deal when he saw the police arrive.
We asked Commander Roy if we would have gotten busted if he caught us buying a residential parking permit.
"If he was going to sell you a pass, he would have, at the very least, gotten a ticket and he may have even been physically arrested, " Roy said.
He added that as a citizen purchasing the illegal pass, you can be arrested as well.
We decided to confront the man named Tom who sold us the pass for $20.
"I didn't sell him nothing, I didn't sell him nothing," Tom said.
Even after showing him the pass that he sold us, he continued to deny the transaction.
Alderman James Balcer of the 11th ward called the illegal sale of residential parking permits in his ward a headache and a problem, as it is for any alderman who has a major league stadium in their ward.
"This is violating the law. They are hurting their neighbors," Ald. Balcer said.
The city revenue department gives the aldermen thousands of guest parking permits each year. Residents can go into the 11th ward office and pick up a guest parking pass, or several, if they need them.
"We don't just hand them out willy-nilly. People come in and they have to show IDs," Ald. Balcer said.
Balcer pointed out that the guest parking permits are free for the residents so that their guests can park in the neighborhood. But that doesn't stop people from abusing the system.
The pass that the man on the bicycle sold our producer for $15 was registered to the Biamonte family on Parnell Street. That's where we were told to drop the pass off after the ballgame was over.
When we asked Thomas Biamonte Sr., who lives at the address, about the permit, he said, "Honey, I think you're very, very mistaken."
Then his memory cleared and he offered a possible explanation of how we came to possess his parking permit.
"Hey, wait a minute. I do remember losing some papers. I did lose some papers," Biamonte said.
We later confirmed that the man on the bicycle who sold us the Biamonte guest parking permit was Thomas Biamonte Jr. - the son of the man who claimed the permit may have been lost with some other papers.
Thomas Biamonte Jr. was even bold enough to tell us to put the permit in his mailbox so he could sell it over and over again.
"Oh, God. It's a sad situation," Ald. Balcer said. "I just promise you I'm going to do something to eradicate this."
Ald. Balcer says he'll push for an ordinance that makes it tougher for hustlers to duplicate or sell the passes, and more difficult for those caught selling to get any more of them in the future.
This isn't just a White Sox problem. Residents around Wrigleyville tell CBS 2 the parking passes are sold there for $25 to $30.