CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has learned many of you are getting an unwanted surprise in the mail, a notice stating you never paid a parking ticket from 20 years ago.
“This is crazy, I don’t owe this,” said Eric Collins, who says he received a letter from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office a couple weeks ago stating he owed two tickets that officials at the Cleveland Municipal Court say he received two decades ago.
“If I got a ticket, I paid it right away,” Collins said. “If I did something wrong I’m gonna pay whatever fine I have to pay but this is ridiculous. Them going after a 20 year old ticket tells me that they don’t take care of their business properly.”
Collins added that it’s impossible for him to try and fight a 20-year-old ticket. He says he doesn’t keep banking records from that long ago, and most banks only keep cancelled checks for about five years.
The I-Team received emails from several people who got the letters, including retired teacher, Gene Tracy.
“The court says I got a ticket in May 2003 on West 6th, “ Tracy said. “They can’t tell me what time of day that was or what vehicle I was driving. I had three motorcycles, a car, and a truck at the time and I was working in 2003.”
We checked with court officials and they said they were unable to find Tracy’s actual ticket. Court officials, however, stated Tracy did receive several notices about 16 years ago stating he owed the money.
“I never got anything on this,” Tracy said. “I did get some other tickets and I paid them right away.”
Obie Shelton, a spokesperson for the Cleveland Municipal Court, says the court sent the unpaid tickets to the Ohio Attorney General’s office earlier this year in hopes of collecting the past due fines.
“We sent to the attorney general 100,000 tickets that represents $3.6 million that was owed to the city,” Shelton said. He said the state can collect the money in a lot of different ways.
“They could even intercept tax returns,” Shelton said. “They can also intercept lottery winnings and now even sports betting winnings.”
He said so far the state has helped collect over $200,000 in unpaid fines.
“This is money that was due to the city and when we go before city council they ask why haven’t you collected all this money,” Shelton said.
But many drivers receiving the letters now, question if they even owe the money.
“They had a way to contact me if I really owed this,” Collins said.
And Tracy says he isn’t going to pay it because he doesn’t believe he owes any money.
“This is completely wrong,” Tracy said. “They need to cancel this craziness.”