Foreign missions owe New York City nearly $17 million in unpaid parking tickets, and New York’s congressional leaders want to take federal action so the Big Apple can get a bite of the money.
“New York, which entertains and hosts people from all over the world, provides them with police security, provided them with all of the comforts, and yet the countries which end up reneging on the money they owe to the city,” said Rep. Peter King, a Republican.
King, along with Rep. Edolphus Towns and Rep. Michael Grimm, sponsored a new bill intended to funnel parking ticket money back to the city.
According to the Daily News, the law already allows the U.S. to deduct unpaid parking ticket fines and taxes from aid to foreign countries, but the congressmen are seeking to direct some of that money back to New York City.
Unpaid parking tickets by foreign diplomats is a problem that has plagued the city for decades. Former Mayor Giuliani tried forcing them to pay, and Mayor Bloomberg has also struggled to do so.
He made some progress recently securing a $1 million payment from Kuwait for its outstanding debt from parking tickets.
The biggest offender is Egypt. The U.S. provides Egypt with $1.5 billion in aid every year but Egyptian diplomats have racked up more than 17,000 tickets worth nearly $2 million. Nigeria has 9,000 outstanding parking tickets owing New York City more than $1 million, and Indonesia has 7,000 worth $700,000.
Some drivers for diplomats say they're being treated unfairly.
“You can ask every driver at the end of the month -- the police give more tickets during the end of the month," says driver Mamerto Laqueo.