A.G. Schneiderman Settles Parking Meter Case With Forest City Ratner
Agreement Requires Ridge Hill Developer To Immediately Pay $154K To City Of Yonkers
Yonkers Also To Receive Any Unclaimed Portion Of $50K “Claim Fund” In Class Action Lawsuit
Schneiderman: Developer Can’t Keep Revenue From Unauthorized Parking Meters
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that he has reached a settlement with Forest City Ratner Companies, LLC (“Forest City Ratner”), the developer of the Ridge Hill complex in Yonkers, to resolve charges that the developer operated parking meters and collected meter revenue without legal authorization.
Forest City Ratner, based in Brooklyn, has agreed to immediately pay $154,000 to the Office of the Attorney General, which will turn the money over to the City of Yonkers. In addition, Forest City Ratner will pay over to Yonkers any unclaimed portion of a “claim fund” that will be established in the settlement of a private class action lawsuit that was brought by customers who alleged they were duped into paying bogus parking meter fees. In the class action settlement, Forest City Ratner will set up a $50,000 account to reimburse claimants for parking meter fees. After a year, any leftover funds will go to Yonkers.
Between the agreement with the Attorney General and the settlement of the class action lawsuit, the total amount to be paid by Forest City Ratner is $204,000.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter and return much needed funds to the City of Yonkers and its residents.” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Like everybody else, real estate developers must follow the law, and I appreciate their cooperation in resolving this matter.”
Forest City Ratner installed 113 parking meters on the streets of the Ridge Hill complex, and operated the meters from October 2011 until January 2013. However, the meters were not authorized by the Yonkers City Council, as required by state law. Nonetheless, for over one year the developer rebuffed attempts by city officials to have the meters removed, before finally relenting early this year.
During the time that the meters were operational, the net revenue to Forest City Ratner was $204,000. With the agreement obtained by Attorney General Schneiderman, and the settlement of the class action lawsuit, that entire amount will be disgorged by Forest City Ratner.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, “I thank the Attorney General for his diligence in working toward a fair resolution that will allow all parties to move forward. Ridge Hill is a regional destination bringing thousands of visitors to Yonkers who invest in our city’s economic vitality and is appropriately responding to this matter.”
In addition to operating the parking meters, Forest City Ratner also issued parking tickets to motorists who did not move their vehicles before time had expired. These official-looking tickets appeared as if they were issued by the city, and directed the motorists to send their payment to the “Parking Authority.” Forest City Ratner was without legal authority to issue parking tickets.
Pursuant to the agreement with the Attorney General, Forest City Ratner will issue refunds to the 31 motorists who paid parking fines in the total amount of $981.
The agreement with the Attorney General also provides that Forest City Ratner shall not install and/or operate parking meters on streets at Ridge Hill, or elsewhere in New York State, without prior legislative authorization.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Doris K. Morin and Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Gary Brown of the Westchester Regional Office, under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Martin J. Mack.