Lawmaker Wants City To Be Able To Boot Cars To Collect On Unpaid Debts
February 26, 2013 11:41 AM
CHICAGO (CBS) – An Illinois state senator wants to allow the city of Chicago to boot and sell cars belonging to people who owe the city money on a court judgment.
Currently, the city is allowed to boot a person’s vehicle when the owner has three or more unpaid parking tickets that have reached “final determination” status; or two or more unpaid red light or parking tickets that are more than a year old.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) has introduced legislation that would allow the city and other Illinois municipalities to also boot a person’s car if he or she loses a court case and owes the city money.
If the vehicle owner doesn’t pay their debt within 24 hours of their car being booted, the city would be allowed to impound the vehicle — even if the owner was not present for a boot hearing — and put it up for sale at a public auction within 21 days to pay off the debt.
DePaul University law professor Leonard Cavise said allowing the city to sell of someone’s car so quickly after booting it, whether or not the driver was at the boot hearing, seems like a violation of due process.
“This is another chance for the city to go out and hire some outside lawyers, and pay them a fortune, because they can’t comply with due process in the first place,” he said. “The city has the right to boot your car for traffic tickets, but they don’t have the right to boot your car for every conceivable other problem that you may have in your financial profile.”
Silverstein told Crain’s Chicago Business he introduced the bill for a lobbyist friend who represents a law firm with a large collections practice.
The proposed legislation has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.
Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, promised very careful scrutiny of the proposal.
“It’s one thing to ticket people for red light cameras, but another thing to – within 24 hours – threaten to sell their vehicles,” he said. “The bill is over-the-top, and clearly comes from special interests.”
The city said it is reviewing the measure, and has not taken a stance on the proposal yet.
Senator's Bill Would Boot Your Car for Unpaid Debts
Senator Ira Silverstein "quietly" introduced a bill that would boot your car if you have any debts owed against you, such as a water bill or traffic ticket, for example. He told Crain's he introduced it at the request of a lobbyist.
By George Slefo and Pam DeFiglio
Email the authors
Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) is on a roll with some unique bills. First, the senator, whose district include parts of Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove and Lincolnwood, tried to introduce a bill aimed at limiting comments posted online.
He’s since withdrawn that bill.
Now, he’s “quietly” introduced a new bill that would boot a person’s vehicle if they have any debt owed to the city of Chicago and other municipalities–- such as water bills or traffic tickets, among others, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
If the person does not pay their bill within 24 hours after a judgment, the individual's car could be auctioned off. Any money made from the auction would go toward paying off whatever debt the person owes, the publication reported.
Current law states that only vehicles with traffic or parking violations may be booted under certain conditions. In those instances, the vehicle can only be auctioned off after 21 days.
Silverstein said he “introduced the bill at the request of a lobbyist friend whose clients include a law firm with a large collection practice,” Crain’s Chicago reported.
Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican, called the idea of threatening to sell a person's vehicle within 24 hours "over the top," according to chicago.cbslocal.com.
Silverstein did not immediately return a phone call placed to him on Tuesday. The senator's district includes Skokie, part of Chicago, Morton Grove, Niles, Glenview and Lincolnwood. To view a map of Silverstein's district, click here.
Silverstein has quietly introduced a bill in Springfield that would empower the city and other Illinois municipalities to slap the wheel-locking Denver boot on vehicles belonging to anyone who owes the city money and is the subject of a court judgment firmly establishing the debt.
Although his wife is a Chicago alderman loyal to Emanuel, Silverstein insisted that he was not doing the mayor’s bidding.
“I did not speak to anybody in the mayor’s office before this bill was introduced. In fact, the city found out about it, called me and said, `What are you doing?’“ Silverstein said.
“This came to me from Adam Braun, a lobbyist representing some of the collection firms. Collection firms are trying to find a better avenue to collect money to help municipalities.”