PI Original Angela Caputo Thursday August 20th, 2009, 12:45pm

Dumke Vs. Stone On The Parking Meter Deal

After the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization's (IVI-IPO) filed a lawsuit yesterday against the city of Chicago challenging the legality of the 75-year parking meter lease, WTTW's Chicago Tonight convened
a panel to talk about this latest ...

After the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization's (IVI-IPO) filed a lawsuit yesterday against the city of Chicago challenging the legality of the 75-year parking meter lease, WTTW's Chicago Tonight convened a panel to talk about this latest development.  In a curious selection, Ald. Berny Stone (50th Ward) was tapped to defend the $1.15 billion deal. He squared off against the Reader's Mick Dumke, whose ongoing investigative reporting on the meter lease (alongside Ben Joravsky) has made him an expert on the intricacies of agreement.

During the heated segment, Stone attempted to brush off a series of reports -- including an investigation by Inspector General David Hoffman's office -- exposing how taxpayers were shortchanged by the deal (while the private financial firms who proposed the plan made out like bandits). After Stone dismissed Hoffman's report as "worthless," Dumke asked the alderman, "What research did you do?" Stone's response: "It's none of your damn business." Watch the exchange below (full video available here):


STONE: How does he [Hoffman] know anything?

DUMKE: He did more research than any member of the City Council.

STONE: Please. That's not true.

DUMKE: How much research did you do into the privatization  of the meters?

STONE: I did a lot. I did a lot of research.

DUMKE: What research did you do?

STONE: It's none of your damn business.

As the Reader reported last week, the city has yet to turn over the complete documents outlining the size of the meter bids. Dumke directly confronted Stone on that point last night, asking "Aren't these bids supposed to be an open and public process?" The alderman responded: "They always are."  In fact, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) informed us during a phone interview several weeks ago that he has repeatedly requested an unredacted look at the documents -- to no avail.

"There's no legal defense to blacking that information out," Waguespack told us. "There's something there that needs to be made public."

Certainly sounds right to us.

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