It took Mark Geinosky eight administrative hearings to get all 24 of his unwarranted parking tickets thrown out, but the Orland Park man still doesn't know why Chicago police officers targeted him.
So he's taking his case to a higher court.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Geinosky filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and two police officers, claiming they abused their power by repeatedly issuing false parking tickets.
Geinosky's lawyers say the lawsuit is an attempt to get answers.
"This is really the only way to hold the Chicago Police Department accountable," said attorney Lawrence Jackowiak. "They don't police themselves."
The Problem Solver first wrote about Geinosky's case Feb. 24, 2009, prompting a police internal investigation. A police spokesman said the investigation is in its final stages.
Geinosky's other attorney, Louis Meyer, said his client was told by the police department that when the investigation is complete, Geinosky will not have access to the investigators' file.
"Through the lawsuit, we'll be able to see that file," Meyer said. The lawyers will also be able to depose the officers with Geinosky in the room.
"He just really wants to get to the bottom of why this happened," Meyer said. "He wasn't getting any answers through the city so he got frustrated."
Although Geinosky has no answer, he does have suspicions, some of which are laid out in the lawsuit. The suit names officers Kenneth Wilkerson and Steven Sabatino, alleging their conduct was "an egregious arbitrary abuse of government power that shocks the conscience."
Geinosky, whose story has been featured 13 times in What's Your Problem?, asks for compensatory and punitive damages.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Roderick Drew had no comment on the lawsuit. Messages left for Wilkerson and Sabatino through Drew were not returned.
Both officers are members of a Targeted Response Unit, which the police department deploys to quell crime in "hot spots."
Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, on Thursday said, "We haven't seen or been served with the complaint yet, so I can't comment on the allegations at this time." She declined to comment further.
The lawsuit claims the parking tickets were issued "based on a conspiracy between the Chicago Police and the plaintiff's ex-wife, Sharon Geinosky, who wanted to injure and get vengeance against plaintiff."
Sharon Geinosky told the Problem Solver she had nothing to do with the parking tickets and was surprised to hear she had been mentioned in the lawsuit.
"I'm as perplexed as anyone about this," she said about the parking tickets. "He's saying I'm behind it, which is crazy. I have nothing to do with it. I'd like to have my name cleared for the sake of my kids."
The suit says the tickets began arriving shortly after Mark and Sharon Geinosky separated on Oct. 7, 2007. Some of the tickets were written while Sharon Geinosky had possession of the couple's sport utility vehicle, but others were issued after she returned the Toyota to Mark Geinosky, the suit says.
Sharon Geinosky said she was interviewed by an investigator with the police department about the tickets.
"I don't know any of those officers," she said. "I really appreciate you staying on top of it because I want to know what happened too."
Four of the two dozen tickets were written after Mark Geinosky sold the vehicle, the filing claims.
Of the two dozen tickets, 13 were written under Wilkerson's name and badge number. Those tickets were in sequential numerical order, meaning that for months Geinosky was the sole recipient of parking tickets from that ticket book.
Geinosky says he complained repeatedly to the officers' supervisor and to the police department's Internal Affairs Division, but nothing was done. In September 2008, the city's Independent Police Review Authority opened a file, then transferred the case to internal affairs. Internal affairs closed the case less than a month later, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says that shortly after the Problem Solver began making inquiries about Geinosky's case, the police department's Internal Affairs Division re-opened the case.
Geinosky said Thursday he hopes the lawsuit will help draw attention to a broken system.
"I'm moving forward to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. "That's my goal in this."
He said some of the hearing officers who threw out his tickets acknowledged something was amiss, but they did not have the authority to change anything.
"What I've been trying to tell people all along is the system doesn't work for us," Geinosky said. "The first hearing officer saw the corruption behind this, and yet I had to go back seven more times."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun