Yesterday, we brought you the story of Cleveland Browns fans being charged a $5 pedestrian fee just for walking into a parking lot used for pre-game tailgating. Unfortunately for the company that owns and operates that lot, one of the pedestrians they hit up for the fee also happens to be a city council member.
After being one of many Browns fans caught off guard by the $5 fee — especially since drivers already pay a $30 fee for parking — the city councilman brought up the topic to the director of the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties, along with the city’s Law Department.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer says the news instantly raised a red flag with city officials:
The city requires that anytime a private entity charges an admission fee in Cleveland, it must register with the city so it can collect an admission, City Law Director Robert Triozzi said.
‘We will clearly be asking some questions about the nature of the activity taking place,’ Triozzi said. ‘We will investigate exactly what was going on there and take whatever appropriate action is required.’
Meanwhile, the company that owns the lot in question (which, is not officially part of Browns Stadium or the Cleveland Browns organization), defended the fee to the media with a statement:
[W]e wish to address some of the additional expenses and current liability issues related to tailgating cleanup and crowd control, such as off-duty Cleveland Police officers, porta-johns, large dumpsters, clean up equipment and clean up personnel.
By implementing these required additional services and addressing the added costs associated with them will only make for a better environment and allow us to continue serving our valued tailgating patrons throughout the Browns’ remaining football season.
Cleveland to look into operator’s tailgate party $5 admission fees [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
Thanks to Mark for the tip!