Parking in South Miami Just Got More Interesting

Got a Ticket? Don't worry. That is, if you wore a wire for the feds.

Laz Parking is a local firm that contracts with the City of South Miami to issue parking tickets and operate meters. That means nobody likes 'em.

And if you believe a recently canned meter maid (meter butler? meter macho?) named Michael Perdomo, that contempt is deserved. The 27-year-old former Laz employee claims the company has deprived the city of thousands of dollars in ticket revenue by regularly voiding tickets and charging the city for man hours when no meter maid was on duty. He also says the firm hired the city's controversial former parking vendor without permission.

"The company is ripping off South Miami," says Perdomo, who claims he was fired for knowing too much. "If the city were to do an audit, Laz Parking would be in trouble."

According to a spreadsheet Perdomo provided Riptide, which he says was generated by Laz, the company voided 171 citations between November 21, 2008, and this past April 6. According to the list, there was nothing wrong with the meters and the tickets were voided as a "courtesy." As a result, the city lost out on $3,078 in revenue.

One guy who got a free pass: Ronald Stroyne, a South Miami resident who owned the parking contract until 2004. That was the year Stroyne wore a wire and wrote a $1,300 blank check to Mayor Horace Feliu as part of a criminal probe. Feliu took the check and was subsequently arrested and charged with accepting an illegal campaign contribution.

The mayor beat the charges and in 2005 sued Stroyne and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office for false arrest. A federal judge dismissed Feliu's lawsuit.

According to email printouts Perdomo handed Riptide, Stroyne asked Laz Parking's director of operations, Jose Fernandez, to waive the citations. Fernandez then instructed Perdomo to kill the tickets. "Take care of this," Fernandez wrote to Perdomo this past January 29.

What's more, according to another spreadsheet Perdomo provided, Stroyne is on the Laz payroll. His salary and job are not known.

Fernandez and Feliu did not respond to a list of questions sent to their personal email accounts or two phone messages at their offices requesting comment. Stroyne did not respond to an interview request sent to his AOL email account.

 
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