Pacific Audit Solutions LLC. If you live in Portland, you probably know the name, and I’d wager it does not bring a smile to your face. They operate virtually all of the pay to park facilities in the downtown area and are virtually impossible to avoid. Check out this graphic of the Hawthorne Bridge vicinity that depicts all their locations!
Please bear with me, this is a long and convoluted story of what I allege is an intricate and well-conceived plot to deceive Portland residents and make a ton of cash in the process. This is a perfect example of the 1% screwing the 99%.
Pacific Audit Solutions LLC (PAS) has a long and storied history. Let’s start with what I’d like to refer to as the basics, the public information filed with the Oregon Corporation Division. Unfortunately what I discovered is far from basic or simple. From what I can tell, this is how it all breaks down. PAS is owned and operated by City Center Parking. City Center Parking is owned and operated by Impark (City Center Parking is overseen by the Downtown Development Group LLC, and Mark Goodman within that business; it’s a layer of the onion I’ve yet to peel back). Impark is owned and operated by C T Corporation. C T Corporation is a foreign entity working out of New York and Canada. Some details of the 2014 annual reports for all four of these companies are summarized below and as you can see, it is very confusing. I’m simply not experienced enough in business law (or should I say not experienced AT ALL) to be able to provide reasoning for having so many different addresses and jurisdictions. I’m assuming that it has to do primarily with two factors. First, they want to make it as challenging as possible for anyone to decipher who they would go after if they were to file a claim. Second, there must be some tax incentives associated with structuring things this way.
So what have we learned so far? A large foreign business corporation (CT Corporation System) operates out of New York, they manage a foreign limited liability company that has a US address but collects mail in Canada. This company manages a domestic limited partnership (City Center Parking) that has a physical address in Portland but collects mail in Canada. This company manages a domestic LLC (Pacific Audit Solutions) who does the real labor of patrolling the streets for victims and ticketing people aggressively for what they call parking violations. Phew, that’s a long chain of authority to try and follow.
I’d like to introduce a very important word here that I try to live every aspect of my life by and that is becoming not only more and more rare in today’s corporate culture but more and more important as well. The word is: Transparency. Typically this makes one think of the ability to see through inanimate objects such as windows or wax paper. However, in this context it refers very specifically to how clear a business operates in its daily practices. The above information on how Pacific Audit Solutions LLC is structured is the opposite of transparent, and I think they know it and take advantage of it.
I digress. Why am I telling you all this now? What injustice has PAS done to me? Well, I’m glad you asked. In December of 2013 I was ticked for parking in the Strand Condo Garage, one of the lots operated by PAS. I was cited for what they call going “in and out”. No, it’s not a bad Ron Jeremy film; it’s entering and exiting a parking garage multiple times while only paying for one parking permit. My first issue with this ticket is that the Strand Condo Garage is not staffed, and it has no gate. So their implications that I left and returned are entirely impossible to prove unless one of their little stoner meter maids witnessed and videotaped this transgression. But they don’t care about that. They expect nobody to deal with the headache of fighting the ticket for a mere $44. Well, they picked the wrong person. I did manage to get reprieve on this ticket based on the fact they PAS bears the burden of proof and had no proof, but that’s not the point of this story. And, to be transparent, I’ve been ticked numerous other times in the same garage. Instead of paying or fighting, I’m ignoring and it seems to be working out pretty well so far.
The point of this story is to point out the clear fact that PAS is operating illegally, plain and simple. I get it. The City of Portland for some reason can’t patrol their own parking lots and has instead contracted to a foreign entity. But, if that foreign entity is ticketing and collecting money from Portland residents for breaking city laws, then the foreign entity should be held accountable to follow the city laws as well. This is not the case here. On every one of their tickets, they state the Portland City Code that you are violating when they ticket you. PAS cited Portland City Code 7.25 on my ticket. This is the code for “Pay and Park and Non-Pay Private Parking Facilities”. The penalty notice that PAS left on my window FAILS to meet several aspects of the Code. Without getting too far down into the weeds, here are the three specific points that PAS fails to meet:
• 7.25.050 B.4 – The address of the Strand Condo Garage is not provided on the penalty.
• 7.25.050 B.8 – No indication that an administrative fee may be charged to me if payment of this penalty is not sent within 10 days of when the penalty was issued.
• 7.25.080 A.3.d – I do not see any warning sign in the facility indicating that the facility may be monitored.
Another important point to note is that the violation instructs disputes to be voiced to the City of Portland Revenue Bureau. Why would the Revenue Bureau handle disputes about parking violations you ask? Oh, right, they get some kind of percentage of cash from every ticket issued! And now we welcome Anne Holm, the Regulatory Program Administrator for the Revenue Bureau. I have had lengthy telephone conversations and email correspondences with Anne over this matter. To summarize, Ms. Holm told me that the City Code was not quite a rule but that it was more than a suggestion. Can you even comprehend that? It boggles my mind. So, she failed to see any reason to enforce the Code on PAS. I of course escalated the matter to Ms. Holm’s supervisor, one Mr. Thomas Lannom. After three emails with no response from Mr. Lannom, I decided it was a lost cause. The City of Portland was allowing PAS to operate outside the bounds of the very Code written to regulate such entities, and it can only be assumed to be for a large profit they get on the back end. It’s sickening.
So, what to do, what to do? My only real recourse at this point other than seeking legal representation for a major class action lawsuit (which I’m ill prepared to do) is to take this matter to the forefront of social media. Perhaps enough people who have been preyed upon by a foreign company illegally prying money from their wallets will get behind this issue and instigate a change. However, there is already a large outcry on social media about PAS. If one was to source only Yelp as a source of complaints (and there are many more sources), you would find people are infuriated as evidenced by a few quotes here: “Clearly I am not the only one who HATES Pacific Audit Solutions. There is a common theme of abuse here.”, “Did you create new rule out of thin air?”, “These guys are vampires waiting to steal your life blood ($) from you any chance they get! Go back to Satan's lair where you belong you corporate parking scum!”, “This is either an incompetent or dishonest business, but I suspect both.”
Maybe social media not the answer. Here is my plan of action. First, I plan to try and figure out the terms of the contract between City Center Parking, Pacific Audit Solutions LLC, and the City of Portland Revenue Bureau. I suspect this will be quite challenging, but perhaps a Freedom of Information Act request will solve the matter. If the City is involved, there should be some public information available. I think if the public knows the terms of the contract and realizes how much money the Revenue Bureau is raking in by allowing PAS to operate like this, there will be uproar. In addition, I’m going to try and get the local news, NPR, and KBOO to pick this story back up. I’m not convinced any of them have truly dug to the bottom of this barrel of deceit. There are several archived news stories going back years about Portland residents being upset about PAS. This onion has a ton of layers, and I’ll be updating this blog as I continue to peel them back.
What can you do to help? Share this blog. Email me directly with your own personal stories about being screwed by these villains. Complain to the Revenue Bureau. Demand transparency! Don’t stop fighting because that’s what the millionaires who are making money hand over fist expect us to do. If you can help me with any information, please, please send it to me!!
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing!