DETROIT (WXYZ) — Matt Wilkinson said when he went to a comedy show at the Fillmore Theater on Saturday, the real joke was the parking ticket he found on his car on this private lot after the show.
However, he wasn't laughing. He said he had parked here legitimately.
"I pulled in the lot. Flagged in, (I was) actually flagged into the lot by a couple of guys. They said $20 parking. I gave the guy $20," Wilkinson recalled.
He said, "And then I went to the show, I came back and I had a $50 ticket on my window."
The ticket wasn't from the City of Detroit. It was issued by Olympia Development which owns the lot. Wilkinson said he approached the woman he saw writing tickets.
He explained, "She says...'This lots closed sir.' I said... 'This lot is not closed. The entrances are wide open. A hundred other cars are sitting here with me. How is it closed?'"
The Westland man said he was told to call the number on the back of the ticket to dispute it.
Wilkinson said he's concerned that there's no signage indicating the lot's closed, and he said whoever collected his money when he parked must have been a scam artist.
After calling and emailing Olympia Development about the citation, Wilkinson said he received a phone call, an apology, and a free parking pass from the company.
Wilkinson said, "They say they voided all those tickets, but what happened last week, the week before they did that to people that didn't know?"
Wednesday, construction workers showed up and started measuring the lot's perimeter. One said they're preparing to build a fence.
Can a private company issue parking tickets?
Olympia Development sent 7 Action News a statement:
"Occasionally, we issue citations for vehicles parked in spaces marked reserved for residents or tenants, or restricted for other reasons. In this situation, our parking team mistakenly issued a citation," said Ed Saenz, Olympia Development of Michigan's Director of Communications.
Saenz said tickets issued that night were voided. He said any driver with questions about their parking experience can call 313-725-3848.
A spokesperson for the City of Detroit said this is a private matter that has nothing to do with city government or its municipal parking department.
7 Action News learned similarly to a property owner being able to tow an illegally parked vehicle, a private parking lot can issue a citation. However, enforcement is another issue and may come in the form of small claims court.