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Pizza, Parking, & Police:
A Story of Crusty Corruption

Pizza For Parking

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Pizza is one of the most universally enjoyed dishes and a food most people won’t turn down. An alleged story about the temptation to eat the baked dough topped with delicious proteins, cheeses and veggies ended up costing four officers their jobs.

Jeff Clegg is one of the officers who was fired.  Clegg claimed that employees of a pizza shop would park illegally and place menus visibly in their car window.  When a parking enforcement officer saw the menu, they were not to write a ticket.  If a parking ticket did happen to be issued, it was usually voided.

Clegg’s allegations also say that the officers didn’t write tickets to the employees for over two years because of the deal.  Apparently the parking enforcers would frequent the pizza shop so often that they were on a first name basis with the workers.  Some of the officers would even enter through the back and just grab their own meal!

The officers were in a situation where they could have issued 3 tickets a day to the pizza parlor’s problematic parkers, with each ticket having a fine of $25.  At first, $25 per ticket may not seem like that large of an amount.  Over the course of 2 years however, $75 in parking tickets each day would have amounted to over $19,000 in missed fines!

Following an investigation by a city official who’d heard about Clegg’s allegations about the parking-for-pizza scheme, Clegg and three other officers were fired.  Shortly after that happened, the pizza restaurant’s owner complained directly to the city in person about how upset he was about the officers being fired.  At the same time though, he denied that there was ever a free meal deal happening.

A second investigation was launched by a police agency, but no charges ended up being filed against the pizza parlor’s staff nor the 4 officers that had lost their jobs.

 

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Questions:

1) Keeping in mind that this deal could have cost the city up to $19,000 in missed fines, if charges had ended up being filed as a result of the investigations, what laws would the enforcement officers have been accused of breaking and what penalties might they face?

2) Keeping in mind that this deal could have cost the city up to $19,000 in missed fines, , what charges could be brought against the pizza restaurant owner, and what penalties might he be dealt?

3) Suppose the allegations were eventually proven to not be true though: Could the officers take action against the city for being fired over false accusations?   If you think they could, explain how you think the officers would benefit from suing the city – what would they get out of it?   If you don’t think they could, explain what makes you think they’re prevented from filing a case against their employers.


Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
http://kutv.com/news/local/slc-parking-enforcement-officers-fired-for-taking-kickbacks-for-not-writing-tickets

Contributed by – J. Plummer

 




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