A man is under police investigation after the News4 I-Team captured video of him selling Metropolitan Police Department visitor parking permits in D.C.
The footage gathered by the I-Team showed the man selling the passes for $30 each, including in a congested residential neighborhood along 10th Street NW, north of the Washington DC Convention Center.
The parking permits are issued by the police department and distributed to homeowners free-of-charge at police stations. They cannot be sold or traded for cash and must only be used by visitors to homes, according to D.C. regulation.
“It's a great concern that someone would be profiting on a system that's in place to benefit the residents of the District of Columbia,” said D.C. Police Cmdr. Leslie Parsons. Parsons said the agency reviewed the I-Team's findings, tracked down the suspected seller and intend to seek $300 fines against the man for each confirmed sale.
The I-Team report included a months-long review of the parking along 10th Street and showed a series of drivers who displayed the visitor parking permits and appeared to walk to work at nearby construction sites or the Marriott Marquis hotel. Drivers interviewed by the I-Team said they did not purchase the parking tags. However, the footage gathered by the I-Team showed notes left by the suspected seller on some car windshields said he had their new passes.
The visitor parking permits allow drivers to park their cars for days at a time on dozens of designated streets throughout the District.
In an undercover operation, the I-Team sought to purchase a parking pass from the suspected seller. A producer contacted the suspected seller using the phone number seen on the posted notes along 10th Street. The suspected seller, who declined to share his name, instructed the producer to bring $30 to a location in northwest D.C. I-Team cameras captured the exchange of cash and parking pass.
The parking permit provided to the producer was later deemed to be an authentic D.C. parking permit secured by the suspected seller at the 3rd District police station. The I-Team never displayed the permit in a vehicle.
Moments after making the purchase, the I-Team confronted the suspected seller to ask about his transactions. He denied making the sale or any others.
“If I’m doing anything wrong, then you just come at me," he said. "That's all I can say. I'm not doing anything wrong.”
Neighbor Pam Chisholm told the I-Team she has suspected parking permits have long been abused on her street near the Marriott Marquis.
“I think they're being mishandled and sold to other people so they can park and not having to worry about getting a ticket for residential parking,” Chisholm said.
The I-Team monitored the parking in Chisholm’s neighborhood regularly over several weeks and approached uniformed construction or hotel employees to ask about their visitor parking permits. Though all denied purchasing the visitor parking permits, each acknowledged using them for easier access to their jobs and work sites, saying a family member or friend obtained the passes for them.
D.C. police said they were able to quickly identify the suspected seller after watching the images captured by the I-Team.
“It is a violation of D.C. regulations," Parsons said. "It is a citation that carries a $300 fine. We have identified that suspect and he will be cited for his actions."
Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited Steve Jones.