Dealer faces fines after parking fleet in spots reserved for residents during Irma

Owner of Autoline in Hallandale Beach could also face jail time

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The owner of a South Florida used car dealership is now facing $12,000 in fines and could face jail time following a Local 10 News investigation.

As Local 10 News first reported Friday night, several Hollywood residents were turned away from the downtown parking garage because a used car dealer had parked his fleet in spots reserved for residents during the storm.

Local 10 News investigator Jeff Weinsier went to the dealership Wednesday to see if there was an explanation.

"I wanted to talk to you about the cars that you parked in the garage in Hollywood," Weinsier said.

"The owner is not here. You need to get off the property, sir," a man said.

"Is there anyone who can talk to us?" Weinsier asked.

"No," the man said.

He claims not to be the owner of Autoline on Federal Highway in Hallandale Beach, but he was moving cars around the lot and giving orders to employees.

The city of Hollywood said during Hurricane Irma, the dealership parked its fleet in a city garage, which is reserved for residents to park in to protect their vehicles during the storm.

Local 10 News counted 47 cars -- all had no tags and many had warranty stickers on them, taking up residents' spaces, and they weren't happy that they were turned away.

"I don't think it is fair to everyone else," another person said. "I don't know how they got in here."

"This is unfair to the rest of the public that actually need it," said another person.

Weinsier asked the man at the dealership who decided to park the vehicles in the garage.

"Nobody. I mean, there's no comment," the man said. "I mean, you guys have to leave the property."

"Do you feel sorry for the residents that were kicked out?" Weinsier asked.

"Sir, you have to leave the property," the man said.

"No comment at all?" Weinsier asked.

"No comment at all," the man said.

"Why not?" Weinsier asked.

"You have to talk to my lawyer," the man said. "I don't know."

"Who's your lawyer?" Weinsier asked.

The city of Hollywood basically issued the dealer's owner 24 separate notices to appear -- that's a form of arrest.

Hollywood said Autoline violated a city ordinance that prohibits the use of public property for private business. The fines are $12,000 and the owner could face 60 days in jail.

"I think you owe the residents an explanation," Weinsier said.

"Sir, you have to leave the property," the man said.

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