Albany Officials Will Turn Over Parking Tickets to ‘Times Union’

By: Joe Strupp

The City of Albany, N.Y., in response to a lawsuit brought by the Times Union, agreed Monday to turn over thousands of parking tickets to the newspaper that are at the center of a police scandal the paper has been pursuing.

“In state Supreme Court, city attorneys contended that the decision amounts to a settlement that virtually ends the court action brought in October after the city asserted the tickets were sealed under a criminal statute and therefore not subject for release under the state Freedom of Information Law,” the paper reported.

Eve Burton, general counsel for the Hearst Corp., which owns the Times Union and filed the lawsuit, said it was not a settlement because the newspaper was entitled to the tickets.

At issue are five boxes of tickets, the paper reported, that were dismissed by city employees as opposed to being adjudicated in Traffic Court.

In 2008, the newspaper first reported on the scandal, revealing a “longtime practice of secret tickets containing ‘bull’s-eye’ stickers — so-called ghost tickets — being issued to private vehicles of city police, spouses, friends and city-employed civilians,” the paper reported. “These stickers were placed on windshields so vehicles could park on city streets without fines or penalties.”

Records showed a total of 57,450 ghost or voided tickets over the last eight years amounting to $4 million in lost revenue, the Times Union reported.

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