The city official in charge of parking-ticket appeals cleared out her office and resigned this week, after an interview with the city inspector general involving a probe of improperly dismissed tickets.
Clorise Wynn, a deputy director of finance who had supervised the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication for nine years, said she had been planning for some time to give up her job and leave the city.
"I resigned because I'm relocating," she told the Daily News yesterday. "I don't have any comment about anything else. . . . It didn't have anything to do with the inspector general. I just got very, very tired of all this."
The city's inspector general, Amy Kurland, said her office would issue a report next week dealing with Wynn's agency. She declined further comment.
Parking tickets in Philadelphia are issued by the Philadelphia Parking Authority and sometimes police officers.
But appeals are handled by the BAA, a small unit of the city Finance Department with offices at 9th and Filbert streets, where ordinary citizens can try to convince a hearing officer that their tickets should be dismissed or marked down for less than the full amount owed. The staff is split between Finance Department and Parking Authority employees, who handle clerical work.
Sources with knowledge of some aspects of Kurland's probe said it began several months ago, when Wynn herself discovered evidence that an employee of the agency had dismissed tickets for another employee.
The Inspector General's Office investigated and reportedly found that tickets for several employees had been dismissed by colleagues.
In turn, some employees raised questions with the Inspector General's Office about some of Wynn's settlement decisions.
One longtime employee, Joanna Schofield, accelerated her planned retirement by a couple of months after talking with investigators.
"They were questioning a lot of things that were going on in there," Schofield told the Daily News yesterday. "I answered their questions, told them the truth and I've never been questioned again. . . . I worked for the city for 31 years and I was just ready to resign. . . . Since I was leaving anyway it didn't make much difference."
As a federal prosecutor before she became inspector general, Kurland brought criminal charges against the former director of the BAA, Joseph F. Hoffman Jr., for taking $4,000 in payoffs to throw out $40,000 in parking tickets for taxi kingpin Michael Etemad.
Hoffman, the son of a South Philadelphia ward leader, did favors for many of the city's political figures, throwing out $6 million worth of tickets over six years, according to data provided by the city.
The inspector general's current probe is believed to involve a much smaller number of tickets and no allegations of money changing hands, sources say.
Hoffman was sentenced in 2005 to serve two years in federal prison, but he has pursued appeals based on legal and medical issues and has not yet served a day.