Michael Coard summons fellow citizens to join a new group dedicated to destroying the|Sam Newhouse1/2 Michael Coard summons fellow citizens to join a new group dedicated to destroying the|Sam Newhouse
A photograph of where Coard's car was parked when he got the ticket that sparked his |Courtesy of Michael Coard2/2 A photograph of where Coard's car was parked when he got the ticket that sparked his |Courtesy of Michael Coard
"Parking Wars" is about to get real.
In Philadelphia, the anger everyone feels at the sight of a parking ticket tucked under a windshield wiper became the basis for A&E reality show "Parking Wars."
On Thursday, local lawyer Michael Coard declared war against the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
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The authority fired the first shot nine months ago when it ticketed Coard's car. The skirmish — over a $51 ticket —has escalated to an ongoing court battle.
"Everybody has been victimized by the vulture known as the Philadelphia Parking Authority!" Coard declared through a bullhorn outside the PPA's administrative offices at Ninth and Filbert streets at a news conference around noon. "We can destroy the monster!"
Calling the PPA "a money-generating scam," Coard is offering free legal assistance to Philadelphians who will join his effort to abolish the organization.
Coard's quest began over a $51 parking ticket the peeved attorney received in March 2016 when he parked his car on an unmetered section of Conshohocken Avenue in Wynnefield.
His car was parked between a standard "No Parking — Bus Zone" sign, but not in the bus zone outline painted on the street with a white X through it.
Although some think you cannot park past the pole, Coard argued that the law actually only restricts parking in the painted rectangle, an.
After his appeal of the ticket was rejected by a hearing officer, as well as an administrative review officer, he paid $200 to take the issue to the Court of Common Pleas. On Nov. 3, a judge ruled in Coard's favor, reversing the ticket. The PPA is now appealing that decision to an appellate court.
"The PPA is concerned about safety issues related to the picking up and discharging of bus passengers," a PPA spokesman said via email. They did not comment on Coard's other claims.
But they may be hearing more about them soon.
Coard believes he can waken a "sleeping giant" by uniting those who have received what may have been illegal tickets.
He urged the public to contact his office if they have received unfair tickets. He offered to provide pro bono legal services and advice contesting tickets, with an eye toward possibly filing a class action lawsuit against the PPA.
Once you call his office, "You're part of the team. You're part of the army, you're involved in the war, and we're going to defeat that bureaucratic bully," Coard promised.
If Coard's vision becomes a reality, it would be another gut punch for the embattled agency.
The PPA, long described as a patronage mill by the Inquirer, was embroiled in scandal recently after it was revealed the agency paid-off female employees to hush up claims of sexual harassment by disgraced former PPA boss Vince Fenerty.
Attorney general-elect Josh Shapiro has vowed to audit the agency's books as soon as he takes office in January.
Coard acknowledged most people don't have the time or money to fight their tickets as he did. And hecalculated that the PPA could have collected as much as $12 million in potentially illegal fines over the past decade for tickets like the one he so far has beaten.
"That money is taken from people who don't have $51 to pay," Coard said. "They're breaking the law."