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New Tbilisi Mayor Vows to Take Parking Company to Court

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 13
Newly-elected Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze stated categorically that he is not interested in hearing the further arguments of parking system regulatory company City Park (C.T. Park) regarding their hope to remain operating in the city, sayingCity Hall will start a legal dispute against the company in the coming weeks.

“I have not said anything new. I declared before the elections and will repeat the same now, the dispute with City Park will be resolved by the courts. I do not care what they think,” the mayor stated in response to statement released by the parking several days ago.

Kaladze earlier claimed that the majority – 99%, according to statements by Kaladze– of the court complaints filed by Tbilisi residents against City Park have been ruled in favor of private individuals and not the company.

City Park’s public relations manager, Levan Tabidze, stated that the statistics provided by the mayor were false.

Tabidze said only 0.2 % of the fines were disputable and the majority of them were won by the company.

“The former mayor was also interested in our company. He ordered one of the most important auditing companies - Ernst & Young - to look into our activities. They said there are no grounds to suspend the contract with us as the company is carrying out all the duties stipulated by the contract,” he stressed.

Present in the capital for a decade, the activities of C.T. Park have raised questions about the nature of the current contract, signed in 2007.

The agreement was concluded during the previous United National Government led by former President Mikheil Saakashvili. The contract turned out to be unprofitable for Tbilisi citizens due to its unfavorable terms.

The service costs and rules caused severe discontent and even protests amongst most residents, many of whom disapprove of the work of the company, and who claim the fines imposed by City Park are excessively high.

Former Mayor David Narmania was also on record of having been unsatisfied with the work of City Park. He often stated stressed the agreement is unprofitable for the city, but stressed that the contract cannot be cancelled because a termination agreement will cost the mayor’s office 25 million GEL.

The contract with City Park expires in 2022. Former Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who signed the one-sided and unprofitable agreement, is now one of the leaders of the parliamentary minority party, European Georgia.

European Georgia mayoral candidate, Elene Khoshtaria, admitted before the October 21 local elections that her colleague signed unflawed agreement and promised to cancel it if elected.

The termination of the contract was one of the main pre-election talking points ahead of the October poll.