Parking Operator Goes Down – May Do Hard Time
September, 2009parking operator in Los Angeles has been convicted on nearly 300 criminal counts of tax evasion (not paying taxes on his parking operation’s income) and could get up to 150 years in prison if the judge is so inclined.
This has been a long time in coming. It’s the result of an ongoing audit done by Clyde Wilson’s Parking Network at the behest of the city of Los Angeles. I have been aware of the process for more than five years.
According to the LA District Attorney, Sohrab Sahab and his Prestige Parking have been underreporting parking income and not paying the taxes due.
Sahab was convicted on 149 counts of failing to file parking occupancy tax report forms, 135 counts of failing to remit parking occupancy taxes to the city, and 11 counts of operating parking lots without a permit.
This go, the number is $400,000, but it may be much higher. In July, the city reported that Prestige was the biggest scofflaw in LA, owing $65 million in such taxes. This particular court case was for only a small portion of that amount.
In looking into the situation, I think the $65 million is a typo. Whom do I blame for this? The guilty, of course, but also the city of LA for letting this get so far out of hand. Where are the city council members who have known about this problem but done nothing?
I also must take a close look at our industry, for playing such a small role in policing itself. Where are the “friends of the court” briefs, filed by parking companies that have been scandalized by folks like Sahab?
Our lobbyists are quick to demand that parking taxes not be raised, but quiet when it comes to demanding that the laws be enforced. Or maybe I just missed that news story.
I know that legitimate parking companies that pay their taxes are put at a disadvantage by companies like this. By under-reporting and not paying taxes, they can underbid and get locations and deals, then do a poor job and give our industry a bad name.
But I repeat myself.