The vice president of one of the largest parking lot operators in Cleveland has been found guilty of running an illegal lot near Progressive Field.
At a hearing in Cleveland Municipal Court on Wednesday, Damon Frangos of USA Parking Systems pleaded no contest to one count of operating without a license, a minor misdemeanor.
During the Cleveland Indians recent playoff run, our hidden cameras caught Frangos and several other USA Parking Systems employees charging baseball fans $40 to park their vehicles in an illegal, unpaved parking lot on Sumner Avenue.
The judge hearing the case accepted the plea but declined to sentence Frangos on Wednesday, instead demanding Frangos first produce a valid license for the illegal lot. Frangos told Judge Charles Patton that he has been working with the city to make the necessary improvements to the lot that are required by the city before a license can be obtained. Frangos is due back in court for sentencing on Dec. 21.
Back in September, the Department of Building & Housing cited USA Parking Systems for using the vacant Sumner Avenue lot for public parking without a license.
Despite being served with a cease and desist notice, USA Parking Systems continued to illegally park cars in the unpaved lot.
In October, during the American League Division Series at Progressive Field, we filmed Frangos and his crew still collecting money from customers at the illegal lot.
On Oct. 6, USA Parking was issued another citation for operating an illegal lot, this time by the Department of Finance.
Sources tell us Frangos had been operating the illegal lot since the 2016 baseball season. We have yet to see any records that show USA Parking paid the city the parking tax that's levied any time you park your vehicle in a downtown lot.
The Frangos Group, which operates USA Parking Systems and is run by Damon Frangos father Louis, may have bigger financial issues.
Five years ago, Cuyahoga County sued Louis Frangos and his companies claiming they defaulted on a $1 million loan.
The money was supposed to be used for environmental clean-up at a building in the Gateway District. Until recently, the property at 1020 Bolivar Road was used to house a county-run jobs program.
The lawsuit is now tied up in court as the two sides try to work out a settlement.
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