ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–One of the candidates running for City Treasurer — the office that oversees parking tickets — is facing questions about a warrant that was issued for his arrest in St. Louis County and whether it was related to unpaid parking tickets in the city of St. Louis.
Brian Wahby, the chairman of the city’s Democratic Central Committee, was driving his Jeep Cherokee on Interstate 55 on June 25, 2011, when he was pulled over by a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper and issued a ticket for failure “to display valid plates. Expired February 2011.”
The Missouri Department of Revenue tells KMOX the registration for Wahby’s Jeep Cherokee was “suspended because of unpaid parking tickets in the City of St. Louis.”
At the time of the pullover, Wahby was delinquent on four parking tickets dating back to the 1990s in the city. As earlier reported, Wahby recently paid $120 in fines and penalties to settle his city parking tickets.
Wahby contends the traffic ticket he received on Interstate 55 was because he had just bought the Jeep from a leasing company, after driving it for three years.
“The leasing company generally took care of the licensing and I didn’t realize that the plates expired.” Wahby said, “So I got a ticket for expired plates.”
The Director of Communications with the Missouri Department of Revenue, Ted Farnen, issued a statement:
“The vehicle registration about which you inquired, CA5MOS, has been suspended by the Missouri Department of Revenue… It was suspended because of unpaid parking tickets in the City of St. Louis.
“Once there are enough unpaid parking tickets involving a particular vehicle registration, the City of St. Louis notifies the Department, and we suspend the registration.”
Whatever the problem with his plates, Wahby failed to appear in court to deal with the pullover ticket on November 17, 2011.
On December 22, 2011, St. Louis County Judge Lawrence Permuter Jr. issued a warrant for Wahby’s arrest. .
“I think it was a bench warrant that was issued because we didn’t make the court date at the right date,” Wahby said, “Once we found out about, we went back to court and paid the fine.”
A court clerk supervisor says Wahby’s case is “confidential” and can’t be discussed. Typically, she says, cases are classified as confidential when the fine is paid.
In the midst of a four-way race Democratic primary for the office of City Treasurer, Wahby says his parking ticket problems underscore the need for reform in the office.
“There’s no way for me to know that there are these tickets from nearly 20 years ago on the plates,” Wahby said, “What we’ve got to do is implement systems that make it easier for people to know that they have violations outstanding, and make sure it’s easier for them to pay them.”
Wahby worked in the City Treasurer’s office in the 1990s, during the time when the four tickets were issued.
Wahby is running against two aldermen — Jeffery Boyd and Fred Wessels — and against State Representative Tishaura Jones.