I-Team Sting Catches Business Hogging Street Parking With Disabled Placards

The I-Team was tipped off to Phoenix Auto Body's tactics by viewers who saw another I-Team investigation in March.

NBC Universal, Inc.

For people who live in a neighborhood next to the Grove, LA's popular shopping and entertainment center, finding parking on the streets can be impossible because so many of the spots are taken up by cars with Disabled Persons Placards, which allow someone to park almost anywhere for free.

The NBC4 I-Team discovered the cars were being parked by an auto shop called Phoenix Auto Body, that's been hogging street parking in the area, by putting customer's cars waiting to be serviced on residential streets and at metered spots. Often, we observed them holding the spaces by displaying Disabled Persons Placards.

"It's extremely challenged to find a parking spot here," said Adam Rosenkranz, who helps manage numerous apartment buildings near Phoenix Auto Body and constantly gets complaints from tenants. "We've made extensive complaints to the city, but all of our concerns are effectively being left on deaf ears."

It's illegal for an auto shop to park its customers’ cars on the streets, under LA's Municipal Code (12.26) which says "no vehicle… shall be parked… outside of the approved enclosure… on which the [car repair] yard is located."

Phoenix Auto Body also appears to be violating a state law, section 4461 of the Vehicle Code, which says "a person shall not display a disabled person placard that was not issued to him or her."

The I-Team was tipped off to Phoenix Auto Body's tactics by viewers like Adam Rosenkranz who saw another I-Team investigation in March.

In that report, the I-Team caught two other auto shops in Silverlake illegally monopolizing street parking with their customers' Porsches and Ferraris waiting to be fixed.

After the NBC4 report aired, the city of LA ordered those Silver Lake auto shops to stop hogging parking spots with customers cars, and they did, opening up a lot of spots for residents there.

"We reached out to the I-Team out of frustration and feeling like [you] got something done in Silver Lake," Rosenkranz told NBC4.

So the I-Team's hidden cameras watched Phoenix Auto Body for over a month, and saw one of the owners, named Igor, and his employee named Ingrid, repeatedly parking customers’ cars on the streets, sometimes all day, often displaying Disabled Persons Placards.

"I think that's a horribly egregious action," said Adam Rosenkranz.

The I-Team discovered that the city of LA issued orders to Phoenix Auto Body in 2007 and 2019 to stop parking customers cars in streets spots, but a city spokesman emailed NBC4 the violations had been corrected in those years.

So whose placards is Phoenix Auto Body using to park customers cars in 2022 on the streets?

The I-Team discovered one placard used to park multiple cars for free at meters registered to one of the body shop's owners, Alex Shabun.

Another placard hung in several Phoenix cars was issued to a man who is now deceased, according to the DMV.

The I-Team spoke with owner Alex Shabun, who told us on the phone, "Yes, I did know" the shop was using Disabled Persons Placards to snag free parking spots for customers’ cars, but he added "I preferred to look the other way.” Shabun told NBC4 his auto shop would stop using the placards to park cars on the streets, which he said would free up a lot of spots for residents and customers of other area businesses.

The I-Team will be watching to see if that really happens.

Contact Us