Deadbeats owe $1.2 billion in parking, red light and speeding tickets issued over the past eight years in the city, and a de Blasio booster is one of the worst offenders.
Gil Cygler, 50, the former owner of Citywide Auto Leasing, is close to $200,000 in hock for 1,232 in unpaid parking tickets and 121 speed camera summonses, records obtained through a Freedom Information Law request show.
The tickets are tied to eight car rental locations Cygler operated in Brooklyn.
Officials couldn’t explain why the city’s Department of Finance allowed Cygler, and other top offenders, to build up so much debt.
Vehicle owners who accumulate $350 or more in debt are typically blocked from renewing their registration.
Finance officials have long complained it’s often difficult to locate some of the worst culprits, especially those who live out of state.
But Cygler and his family have been politically active in Brooklyn for years, campaign records show.
In May, Cygler was one of a handful of dignitaries to sell $250 tickets to Mayor de Blasio’s birthday fund-raiser hosted by comedian Louis C.K. at Brooklyn Bowl.
In 2013, Cygler personally gave de Blasio $1,000 and is listed as someone who held a fund-raiser for the mayoral wannabe, where his family and friends chipped in several thousand more, records show.
Both the mayor and the former car rental executive say unpaid parking tickets were never discussed during those interactions with the mayor.
“I never talked personal business,” Cygler said.
Still, no one can explain why his company, originally started by his father Samuel in 1979, was able to accumulate so many unpaid tickets.
“We are trying to figure it out,” a Department of Finance official said about the case.
City marshals are permitted to boot or tow scofflaws who run up $350 or more in judgements regardless of the state in which their vehicles are registered.
City officials are also allowed to seize assets and place liens on property in extreme cases.
None of that was ever done to Cygler and his fleet of vehicles.
The Finance Department “is actively investigating this case as well as the other debtors,” a department spokeswoman said. “We do not have specific results that we can share at this time but we have set up an internal Task Force . . . so the resources of several offices can work together on resolving them.”
Critics contend that the lack of action until The News inquired is emblematic of the city’s slipshod enforcement.
There’s no specific team or mechanism in place to target the worst offenders, city officials admit.
Cygler, and his Brooklyn-based car rental locations, like others in the city, were enrolled in the city’s Rental Program.
The city allows enrolled businesses to transfer tickets to customers by submitting the correct name and address of the driver responsible for the ticket.
But the transfers apparently never happened or somehow got garbled in the process.
“I don’t know if they were transferred over,” Cygler said.