HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A South Florida used car dealer accused of parking his fleet in a city garage during Hurricane Irma pleaded not guilty Friday and plans to fight the city of Hollywood in court.
Back in September, just before Hurricane Irma's approach to South Florida, Keijo Kiilo parked a fleet of his used cars in Hollywood's downtown parking garage.
Kiilo owns Autoline on Federal Highway in Hallandale Beach.
Hollywood had lifted all parking fees and the spots in the garage were supposed to be for residents only, especially downtown residents, because street parking is limited. But many residents were turned away because the garage was full.
The city said Kiilo violated an ordinance that prohibits the use of public property for private gain.
Hollywood police issued Kiilo the citations and a notice to appear, which is a form of arrest.
The fines for those citations add up to $12,000.
"We don't feel as though he violated any laws," Kiilo's attorney, Ryan Chae, told Local 10 News. "We're not necessarily denying the fact that he parked vehicles in there, but I think there were extenuating circumstances that warrant his actions and those circumstances certainly do not amount to any sort of violation of the law."
Does he believe at all that he owes the residents of Hollywood or the people who couldn't park there an apology?
"At this time, we don't have a comment for that," Chae said.
Kiilo refused to comment outside the courtroom.