Foreign Diplomats Owe New York City $16 Million in Unpaid Parking Tickets

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Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP/Corbis

World leaders may be wining and dining and … solving international issues (?) at the U.N. General Assembly in Manhattan this week, but it seems like paying outstanding parking tickets isn’t high on anyone’s list. That’s unfortunate, seeing as they owe the city more than $16 million for traffic violations, as issued by the NYPD.

Now, sure, $16 million doesn’t cover much in a city of this size, and in fairness to the perpetrators, most of those tickets were issued more than a decade ago. (In 2002, the Bloomberg administration began asking cars to surrender diplomatic plates after ticket scuffles, and the numbers decreased drastically.) The number might not even be that bad if the ticket burden was shared equally among nations. But it’s not. It turns out, you either skirt the law, or you really skirt the law.

More than $7 million dollars — almost half of the total amount — is owed by the ten top offenders: Bulgaria, Angola, Sudan, Senegal, Pakistan, Morocco, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, and, in first (last?) place, Egypt, the top offender, with almost $2 million owed. Could turning a blind eye to the tickets be some sort of preemptive payment to the country for graciously hosting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks?

I don’t have details about [the tickets], unfortunately,” a spokesman for its mission to the U.N. told the Journal.