Adrienne Leonard was traveling overseas last year on a missionary trip when she got a frantic phone call from her mother: The city had taken Leonard's car.
Booted and towed from in front of her South Side bungalow, her green 2001 Kia Sephia was gone.
Gone for good, it turned out.
The city demanded more than $1,000 for three parking tickets, and towing and storage fees.
Leonard was $300 short.
The city gave her 15 days to get the money, but she ran out of time.
The car became the city's -- an "involuntary surrender," the city calls it.
In January, the city sold the Kia to a politically connected towing firm that has an exclusive contract on city business.
How much money did the city get for the car?
That's right. The city sold a 3-year-old car for $125.54.
Leonard, 47, didn't get a dime from the sale and lost all the equity in her car.
She didn't even get a dime's credit toward those tickets, towing and storage fees. She's still on the hook for those.
And she still owes $13,800 for the Kia -- a car she no longer owns.
"The city stole my car," Leonard said, tears building in her eyes, as she learned from reporters what happened to her Kia. "I was robbed.''