Psst! Don’t tell anyone but if you got charged for parking at the DWP Headquarters at 111 N. Hope St., you were ripped off.
The DWP has been charging visitors and other non-employees $16 a day — recently raised to $21 — for years but is operating its public parking lot without a city permit.
I know it’s hard to believe but the DWP is a parking scofflaw just like so many other parking lot operators who owe the city more than $150 million.
Close followers of the endless stream of bad news about the abuses, mismanagement and secrecy at the DWP, will not be shocked and amazed to learn that the utility you own and pay so dearly for has no more respect for the law than it does for your money.
Responding to a formal letter of complaint nearly a month ago, Police Commission investigators has found no evidence the DWP has an “auto-park permit” required of anyone, even city agencies, to operate a parking lot that serves the public and charges them.
Nor is there any evidence has ever paid the city’s 10 percent parking tax so what it owes the city could be substantial with penalties and interest included — unless the DWP doesn’t have any records of where all that cash has gone, which would be par for the course. Hopefully, it didn’t buy beer and cover charges at strip clubs for DWP workers.
According to the letter of complaint to the Police Commission, the person who filed the report has faced “threats of retaliation, intimidation, and other negative issues generated by
multiple DWP employees.”
Investigators have been in no great rush to investigated the complaint and only visited the DWP headquarters last week
“We are going to be talking to DWP officials soon to determine how they are running the parking lot, to see if it’s open to public, and if they are charging a fee,” said Officer Luis Garcia.
“They are required to have a permit unless it’s used for employees only.”
The DWP will be required to seek a parking permit and the issue of collecting what will be owed will be turned over to the Office of FInance.
Last year, Neighborhood Council members even those involved directly as members of the Memorandum of Understanding committee providing oversight on the DWP and members of the public attending DWP Board meetings were required to pay the fee or park elsewhere.
What about the money collected illegally for parking over the years?
Don’t hold your breath. The DWP still has shown no inclination to refund the $130 million it illegally collected for water and turned over to the general fund.