PONTIAC (WWJ) – It’s maybe the last problem you would expect at the Pontiac Silverdome: too many cars in the parking lot.
In this case, it’s thousands of Volkswagen cars bought back by the automaker during its diesel emissions scandal. Most have been parked outside of the rundown stadium since January.
The city of Pontiac is so unhappy about the cars, officials are taking the owners of the Silverdome property to court.
In a six citation legal filing, the city says Triple Investment Group is storing the cars at the stadium without the necessary permits or security. The city says the company can keep the vehicles if it obtains the correct licenses to solve the violations, otherwise they want the cars removed as soon as possible. The city also expressed frustration with what it called repeated broken promises to demolish the disintegrating stadium.
Attorneys for Triple Investment Group deny the allegations, saying the city’s remedies are beyond the norm and could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A court hearing is scheduled for April 24.
The Lions left the Silverdome in 2001 for Ford Field, the venue closed in 2006, and Pontiac sold the stadium at auction in 2009. It reopened in 2010 and hosted several events, but closed again three years later.
Officials announced in 2015 that the Silverdome would be demolished, although a date with the wrecking ball has never been set.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty earlier this month to conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a brazen scheme to get around U.S. pollution rules on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles by using software to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests.
Volkswagen acknowledged in 2015 that diesels sold in the U.S. had software that recognized when the cars were being tested on a treadmill and turned on pollution controls. The controls were turned off when the cars returned to the road. The EPA alleged the scheme let the cars spew up to 40 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxide, which can cause respiratory problems in humans.
As part of a remedy, Volkswagen has been buying back the more than 400,000 impacted vehicles. In addition to having their cars bought back, owners can each get cash payments of $5,100 to $10,000 for their troubles.