The Ridge Hill shopping center in Yonkers has agreed to pay $154,000 to the state Attorney General’s office to settle a second lawsuit filed over its use of unauthorized parking meters, The Journal News/lohud.com reports.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who announced the settlement with Forest City Ratner Cos. today, said he is turning the money over to the city. His office said it took legal action after The Journal News reported that the shopping center had never received city authorization for the meters, which have since been removed.
The settlement comes after Forest City tentatively agreed to pay at least $50,000 to resolve a separate class action brought by two customers who claimed in January that Ridge Hill duped them into paying bogus meters. Between the two suits, the developer will pay out $204,000 in claims, equivalent to the amount it collected from the meters, Schneiderman said. Forest City will issue $981 in refunds to 31 motorists who paid parking fines.
In his suit, Schneiderman argued that Forest City violated a state law that required the developer to get legislative approval from Yonkers for the 113 meters it operated at Ridge Hill from October 2011 to January 2013, adding that Forest City “rebuffed attempts by city officials to have the meters removed” for more than a year.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter and return much needed funds to the city of Yonkers and its residents,” Schneiderman said. “Like everybody else, real estate developers must follow the law, and I appreciate their cooperation in resolving this matter,” he said.
In the class action, Kathy Andersen of Congers and Maria Lena Felidi of Yonkers claimed that Ridge Hill had engaged in “wrongful business practices” by tricking shoppers into thinking they had to pay for private, on-street meters that appeared to be municipally enforced. The women filed suit in January in state Supreme Court in Rockland against Forest City and First New York Partners Management, which helped operate the meters.
Forest City spokeswoman Ashley Cotton said the developer was pleased to have resolved the issue.
“While we believed meters to be authorized as part of the original, approved project plan, it has been determined that all appropriate procedural requirements were not met to authorize the installation,” she said in a statement. “We respect this process, remain committed to being a good neighbor, and are ready to move forward.”