A Chicago woman whose car sat in the parking lot at O'Hare International Airport for three years, racking up $106,000 in parking fines, settled a suit with the city earlier this month in which she will pay less than $4,500.
Jennifer Fitzgerald claims her former boyfriend, Brandon Preveau, abandoned a purple 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo registered in her name in an airport lot from 2009 to 2012. Preveau, who once worked at O'Hare, reportedly bought the car from Fitzgerald's uncle, who then signed the title over to Fitzgerald, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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The car began accumulating tickets for being abandoned, but over the years it racked up 678 citations for everything from improperly tinted windows and expired plates to broken lamps and outdated registration. The fines ballooned when Fitzgerald failed to show up to court on a handful of occasions. The car was finally towed by the city in October 2012.
Fitzgerald claims she couldn’t retrieve the car because it was parked in an employee lot and she had given Preveau her only set of keys. She said she blames the city for not towing it sooner.
A lawsuit filed by the city was resolved Aug. 12 when Fitzgerald, Preveau, and officials agreed on a three-year payment plan that would total about $4,500. Preveau was ordered to give Fitzgerald $1,600 for a down payment, and she would be responsible for paying the rest in monthly installments of just $80.
"Parties came together and worked out a reasonable resolution to this situation," city law department spokesman Roderick Drew told the Tribune. "By following the terms of the settlement, at the end of this three-year period Ms. Fitzgerald will be able to resolve the debts, receive her driver’s license — which she could not have with all of these tickets hanging over her head — and she can move on with her life."
Fitzgerald also reportedly has several thousand dollars of parking fines for another vehicle that is in her name, the Tribune said.
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