Oscar curbs parking scam

Org files suit against phony pass seller

And the parking pass goes to … ?

It seems the Academy is very picky about who it invites to its big night — even down to who gets to park at the Oscars.

The org recently filed suit against Steven C. Barber, who posted an ad on Craigslist.org offering to sell an official auto/limo pass to this year’s Oscar ceremony for $500 — the apparent cost of “getting up close and personal with the red carpet arrivals,” as the ad touted.

There was no reference as to how Barber had acquired the pass, but the Academy is looking at several possibilities, including the prospect that it came from an Academy employee.

While CraigsList uses an anonymous email address to link buyer and seller, Barber listed his phone number, a curious decision that led the Academy to enlist a pair of detectives to track him down.

According to Barber, the two sleuths arranged an undercover meeting at a local Starbucks, where “they set me up” and bought the parking pass.

Since the pass was returned to its rightful owner, the Academy “initially offered to forgo civil action if Barber agreed to reimburse them for the cost of the parking pass,” says David Quinto, an Academy attorney.

That offer was rejected, prompting the Acad’s lawsuit, which seeks $1,812.50: the amount of the transaction plus the cost of the investigators’ fees.

That suit is pending, but there may be criminal charges as well.

During the Starbucks meeting, Barber allegedly also bragged about breaching the perimeter of last year’s ceremony. That’s an admission Oscar’s gatekeepers take seriously, so Quinto says, “The Academy is doing everything it can to investigate this matter, and the police are conducting their own investigation.”

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