As diplomats' cars flood the streets of New York for the 66th session of the UN General Assembly this week, Manhattanites may be wondering how all the ambassadors get away with so much flagrant illegal parking. While foreign diplomats have plagued New York over the years to the tune of some $17 million, the Big Apple is not alone in losing the revenue and enduring the headaches of the diplomatic community.
Washington D.C. is owed $340,000, not exactly chump change either. It won't be paid. Why? Because foreign diplomats are granted immunity from paying fines.
But warning to hallowed diplomats, according to WTOP: your days of flipping off hard working meter maids may be numbered.
Representatives Michael G. Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), Peter T. King (R-Long Island), and Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn) have introduced new legislation to ban this kind of untouchable parking status--a motion that is currently simmering in the foreign affairs committee.
The parking scofflaws are not completely without punishment.
As The Village Voice points out, 110% of the unpaid parking fines owed to New York City and D.C. will be withheld from the offending nations in matters of foreign aid.
Angola (with $22,795.83) and Indonesia (with $21,668.94) were the highest offenders in recent recorded history, from November 2002 to April 2011, according to data from the New York City Mayor's office.
So, to make the whole thing worse, the laziness of these diplomats is literally taking food and medicine out of the mouths of those who sent them to their posh digs in New York and Washington DC in the first place to get the foreign aid in the first place. We are thinking that almost $24,000 would buy a lot of insulin and antibiotics for Angolans if their diplomats would just use a parking garage.
New legislation is asking to veto the renewal of diplomatic licenses to any country that has outstanding parking fines by September 15 of each year.
Wasn't there a West Wing episode about this?