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Diplomats Get a Free Ride on Parking in New York With PM-House-Parking Tickets, Bjt

October 9, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ People who drive vehicles owned by the city, state or federal government often park with impunity around New York. And that goes double for diplomats.

″You don’t know how many times we’ve passed a diplomatic plate and salivated,″ said Philip A. Crimaldi, sheriff of New York City.

Even if a license check showed $15,000 worth of outstanding tickets, ″I have to wave goodbye to the car. I can’t touch it,″ he said.

The city where the United Nations has its headquarters forgave $3.8 million in parking tickets on government-owned vehicles, including diplomats’ cars, in the past eight years, the city Transportation Department said.

Free parking is no small privilege on the busy streets of New York.

In the nation’s capital, Speaker Thomas S. Foley on Tuesday ordered House officials to stop helping members get parking tickets dismissed in Washington.

The Washington policy won’t end dismissal of parking tickets issued to members of Congress. But it will force a member who receives a ticket to make the case personally that he or she was on House business.

In New York, Transportation Department spokesman Joe DePlasco said the $3.8 million represents 436,000 tickets issued for city, state, federal and diplomatic vehicles.

Parking in truck-loading zones and at expired meters is considered an ″amenable,″ or forgivable, offense for government vehicles. But the drivers must swear by affidavit that they were on official business.

Some tickets cannot be dismissed: double-parking, fire hydrants, intersection, no standing any time.

But diplomats can ignore the fines on even those tickets. Congress would have to change the law for the city to collect from diplomats.

On Friday, there’ll be even more phantom funds that the city can’t collect, thanks to a $5 statewide surcharge on every parking ticket.