Records show Tri State got more spots than other valet parking companies
A politically connected valet parking operator consistently got more reserved parking spots from Pittsburgh police than his competitors, according to records the Tribune-Review obtained through a Right to Know Law request.
Tri State Valet Inc. of Green Tree received permits to reserve six to 12 on-street parking spots at the doorsteps of all but one of its nine city clients, most of them upscale restaurants such as Le Mont, Capital Grille and Morton's Steakhouse.
None of Tri State's six competitors, which operate at 11 locations that cater to bar and restaurant patrons, received permits to use more than four parking spots each. The difference might seem minor, but in the valet parking business, volume is everything.
“I would just like it to be an even playing field,” said Stephen Lindsley, 23, a Robert Morris University student who runs a valet stand on Saturday nights at 19th and East Carson streets in the South Side.
The more curb space a company can reserve to stage cars as they arrive and depart in front of a busy nightspot, the higher the potential profit, operators say.
Giving more spaces to one company gives them an unfair advantage, Lindsley said.
Police have made changes since the Trib reported in the past week that former Chief Nate Harper granted extra spots to friend and Tri State owner Robert Gigliotti, 46, of Banksville, according to a former police official.
Gigliotti could not be reached.
His business partner, Robert S. Arrigo of Bethel Park, declined comment.
“Nothing to say, thanks,” Arrigo said.
Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant made changes that limited all valet parking permit-holders to four parking spots, with exceptions for large events.
Documents show Bryant re-issued 20 permits between March 29 and Wednesday to reflect the new four-spot limit. The change affects only Tri State, because it was the only company that claimed more than four spots.
“It's a fair deal,” said Bill Bodziak, former director of operations at Extravagante Valet, which counts Lidia's and Eleven restaurants in the Strip District among its clients. “Ninety percent of the time, four (parking spots) is all you need.”
Gigliotti had a knack for getting more, and his ties to politicians were well known. He was part of one of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's major re-election campaign fundraiser committees in 2011. The Allegheny County Democratic Committee lists Gigliotti as a member in the city's 20th Ward.
Gigliotti's wife, Linda, is a city police detective.
Ravenstahl's office did not return a call for comment.
Scrutiny of Tri State began last week when members of the Market Square Merchants Association said they received complaints from visitors who said Tri State employees tried to force them to use the service, parked cars in on-street spaces instead of in a designated garage, and used a private lot without permission.
Bryant, who was not available to comment, this week transferred responsibility for enforcing valet parking permits to the Special Deployment Division, which handles traffic matters.
“(Pittsburgh police) will do its part in making sure the valet companies remain in compliance,” she said Tuesday.
Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police break up customer fights over Air Jordan 11 shoes
- Christmas in Western Pa. predicted to be ‘slightly white’
- Children treated to gifts, peaceful holiday party at Lincoln-Lemington church
- Butler legislator gives weekly GOP address
- Pittsburgh adjusting to new bicycle lane, ‘stop boxes’
- Newsmaker: Patrick Juola
- Brashear High ‘little libraries’ program rolls out
- Tree recycling offered at Allegheny County parks
- Icy roads, cold causing school delays, wrecks in Western Pa.
- Pittsburgh fraud case, Uganda-based counterfeiting racket linked
- Motivation in slaying of Penn Hills couple remains unclear