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Minority firms seek parking meters system work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact: Paul W. Davis

May 15, 2009                                                                          First Trace Communications

Mobile: 708.204.7225

                                                                                                Office: 773.962.0910



African-American Firms Seek a Piece of Parking Meter Business

Highly qualified African American-owned professional services companies are actively seeking to get their piece of a $1.2 billion business pie granted to LAZ Parking, the firm hired to manage the City of Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters.


Last December, the City signed a $1.2 billion, 75-year lease with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, to manage Chicago’s “on-street” parking meters. Chicago Parking Meters then entered a seven-year agreement with LAZ Parking to operate Chicago’s parking meter system.

However, to date, LAZ’s efforts to meet the City’s minority- and women-participation requirements of 25 percent and 5 percent, respectively, have been lagging. LAZ assumed management of the City’s parking meter system in February and at present has not contracted with a single African-American owned firm.


The City’s minority participation requirement of the LAZ agreement will be examined during a public hearing conducted by the City Council Finance Committee headed by Ald. Ed Burke (D-14th), Monday, May 18th at 11 a.m. The hearing will also consider a rash of complaints related to broken parking meters, meters that overcharge and increased parking meter fees.


A spokesman for an African-American and female-owned owned company, Innovative Parking Solutions, attorney Melvin Caldwell, said the firm made a presentation to LAZ in February and desires to have “a fair opportunity to do business in the marketplace.” 


“Innovative Parking Solutions is the only certified African-American-owned parking management company in Illinois,” noted Caldwell. “We have absolutely no desire to embarrass or denigrate LAZ Parking and the awesome responsibility they have in managing Chicago’s meter system. Our hope is to forge a partnership that will be mutually beneficial for LAZ, citizens of Chicago, and us.”


According to Caldwell, Ald. Anthony Beal (D., 9th) has met with LAZ officials and expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s minority participation efforts to date.


Innovative Parking Solutions currently manages the entire parking system in St. Louis.


Caldwell is the principal of Illinois Government Consultants Incorporated (IGCI), a government relations, procurement consultant, lobbying and business development firm. IGCI also currently represents the Illinois Sports Facility Authority and other Illinois businesses.



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