By Edwin Folven, 2/21/2013
The corporate owners of a McDonald’s franchise in the Miracle Mile, and a Chicago-based parking company, have been charged with multiple criminal counts for illegally immobilizing vehicles parked in a lot at 6345 Wilshire Blvd.
California law allows for the towing of vehicles illegally parked in lots, but not the placement of “boot” devices on vehicles by private companies. The charges allege that employees of Chicago-based Global Parking Management placed “boots” on vehicles in the McDonald’s parking lot. Between March and April, the LAPD received numerous calls from individuals complaining about their cars being immobilized. The reports alleged that individuals who left the lot for a few minutes returned to find a “boot” on their tire, along with a demand by Global for $115 to remove the device.
“Private businesses will not be allowed to violate the law by holding our drivers hostage for ransom,” City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said. “Rules and regulations are in place for a reason, to ensure that only law enforcement officers have the authority to impound vehicles.”
In May, the LAPD conducted a sting operation in the parking lot and arrested a Global parking attendant after he was observed applying a “boot” to an undercover vehicle and demanding money for its removal. Global Parking Management and its president, Joseph V. Grillo, 40, were each charged with 27 counts, including one count of conspiracy, nine counts of vehicle tampering, nine counts of false or misleading statements, four counts of petty theft and four counts of attempted petty theft. If convicted on all counts, the company and Grillo could face up to $31,500 in fines, and Grillo could face up to nine years in jail.
South Bay Corporation, the owners of the McDonald’s restaurant, and company CEO Anthony Lardas, were each charged with 10 criminal counts, including one count of conspiracy, eight counts of auto tampering, and one count of false or misleading statements. If convicted on all counts, the company and Lardas could face up to $20,500 in fines, and Lardas could face five years and six months in jail. Arraignment is scheduled for March 13.