A month after the Charlottesville Parking Center sued the City of Charlottesville over the price of parking in the Water Street Parking Garage, the city has filed a counterclaim alleging, among other things, breach of contract and business conspiracy.


CPC President Mark Brown was served notice of the countersuit on Friday, the day after he sent a letter to city council urging them to approve the sale of the city's stake in the Water Street Parking Garage.


It wasn't the response he'd hoped for.


"We had hoped that the letter would facilitate a new discussion and deescalate the situation and bring about a resolution," he said.


Both suits claim the other side has violated the contract that sets the rules for running the garage.


For CPC, the issue is the price of parking. CPC wants to raise the rates from $2 an hour to $2.50, and to increase monthly rates as well to match market value. The board of the Water Street Parking Garage Condominium Association is deadlocked and it can't set an operating budget, which Brown has warned could result in the closure of the garage.


In its countersuit, the city accuses CPC of secretly buying an additional stake in the garage to gain more control of the facility. In its suit, the city says it had right of first refusal on that additional stake, retail space owned by Wells Fargo, and was not offered the chance to buy at the price CPC paid. The city is suing CPC for at least $750 thousand.


Neither City spokesperson Miriam Dickler nor Mayor Mike Signer responded to a request for comment.


Brown declined to comment on the specifics of the city's suit or how he might respond, but a letter from his attorney sent in February to City Attorney Craig Brown calls the city's claims about the alleged secrecy of the Wells Fargo purchase "poisonous" and "false." The letter says CPC has written evidence that the city was aware of the sale before it happened.


CBS19's legal analyst Scott Goodman says he thinks the suits will be settled, and that CPC will come out on top since it owns the land under the garage. The lease on that land expires in 2024 and Brown has said he will raise the price of that lease at that time.


"Obviously with the impasse that we have, it's going to be easier for one of the two parties to basically give up and let the other own the entire thing so this can finally be resolved," Goodman said. "Mr. Brown, the Charlottesville Parking Center owns the land. It's much more likely that they're going to prevail."