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The few, the proud, the $90,000 in fines

The U.S. Marines and officials in White Plains, N.Y., appear to have called a truce in a fight over 2,000 unpaid parking tickets.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The U.S. Marines and local officials appear to have called a truce in a fight over 2,000 unpaid parking tickets.

The city agreed this week to return a Marine recruiter's car that had been towed and impounded in April after White Plains officials got fed up with a huge tally of unpaid parking violations racked up on Corps vehicles.

Since 2001, the Marines have accrued $90,000 in fines on 2,000 parking tickets in White Plains, a northern suburb of New York where the Corps has a recruiting station.

The city returned the seized car Monday as a show of good faith after a Marine sergeant paid $860 toward settlement of the dispute, with more money promised.

In another gesture of good faith, a City Court judge waived the $2,800 the sergeant owed in fines and penalties, reducing the amount to the tickets' face value.

"We're confident that a solution that's satisfactory to everyone is within sight," said Paul Wood, a spokesman for White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino.

The seized Chevrolet Impala bearing U.S. government license plates and a Marine Corps decal had been parked in a city garage without payment. It was towed after authorities discovered it had 94 outstanding parking tickets.

Individual recruiters are responsible for tickets they receive on government-owned vehicles, said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Butler, spokesman for the First Marine Corps District. But the Corps is cooperating with the city to make sure violations are paid on time in the future, he said.