Was $80 parking for Beyonce concert price-gouging?

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - High public parking fees charged last Friday in downtown Houston during the Beyonce and Jay Z concert did not run counter to local ordinances, a city representative said Monday.

"If the market will bear $80 prices, the city doesn't get into the middle of that unless the price is improperly posted," Darian Ward said.

The city does require signage to be accurate and of a certain height and width, but the city does not impose price caps, and it is unclear whether doing so would be legal.

The city's legal department sent the following statement:

"When the fee to park in a parking facility during a special event is a different amount than the hourly, daily or monthly rate, conspicuous temporary signage at least 2 feet high and two feet wide shall be posted at all entrances to the parking facility and at all pay stations, clearly stating the amount of the special event parking fee in letters not less than 6 inches wide."

As long as the price is clearly posted so you are able to make a decision before incurring the expense, it's legal.

LAZ Parking managed Minute Maid Park's ultra-exclusive Diamond Lot Friday and charged $80 per spot.

A representative for LAZ made it clear: The high-priced spots may not be suitable for some, but the idea is charge what the market will bear, and Friday it could bear a lot.

KPRC asked LAZ Parking Vice President Cornelius Thompson if this was a case of price-gouging.

"Nope. Not when there's other options in the area. If you don't want to pay that amount of money for that lot then fine, there are other lots in the area that are lower priced."

The city agrees.

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