Man refuses to leave Packard Plant in Detroit, demands to be parking attendant

Johnny refuses to leave the Packard Plant.

Johnny Revel isn’t going anywhere – at least not until someone makes him.

For more than a year, the bald, self-described war veteran with boozy breath has been making money protecting people’s cars at the abandoned Packard Plant, which attracts photographers, journalists and filmmakers from across the globe. His job was unofficial, of course, because the plant had become a lawless wasteland under delinquent ownership.

But now that the sprawling plant has an active owner, Johnny is no longer needed. The new owner, Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo, has asked Johnny to leave but to no avail.

Then earlier this month, Johnny claimed he badly injured his leg at the plant and asked Palazuelo for $10,000. Wearing a brace around his leg, Johnny had no time for questions and recently tried to chase away a Motor City Muckraker contributor.

“Get the fuck out of here,” Johnny yelled.

When Palazuelo hired security, he thought he’d be dealing with vandals and scrappers – not a stubborn parking attendant.

The good news is, scrappers are being chased out by new security. Over the past two years, metal scavengers had grown bolder and more reckless, causing fires, tearing down buildings and trying to topple the enormous water tower.

The Packard also attracted vandals and robbers. On Christmas eve, urban explorers found a dead body.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Tad

    Ive been down to the packard numerous times and ran into john before and he can be a complete a.hole and regardless of what other people say he is nothing but an a.hole and ive never gave him money. Why would a person pay a drunk guy to watch their car?

  • sally

    Johnny we all got your back man. You been at the Packard steady for awhile now. If y’all don’t like his business tactics, park else where. He’s got a hustle going. So what? My vehicles have never been messed with. You wanna be a bad ass n go “play” in the hood with your cameras n spray cans, then be prepared to befriend Johnny, pay him, or don’t park there. Plenty of other places to park…if you dare. Sad that y’all are more worried about taggers, parking lot hustlers, and other “issues” none of which are major, than the fact that some guy just got put in a coma for doing the right thing. Get a life people. Turn your energy towards solving problems, not barking about them on some pathetic website.

  • 70 SS

    Johnny, 1st, you are keeping out scrappers? When we have been down there several times, you have told us yourself that some of the “scrappers” were your friends and that you look out for them. 2nd, there is no “official” parking” at packard, so where do you get the balls to get pissed if somebody doesn’t pay you either in cash or with alachol. 3rd, how do you consider yourself “security” when you are drunk, and at times high on other illegal drugs, we have witnessed you doing drug deals right next to peoples cars, and sometimes you even ask some of the people to give you rides to go get drugs. To me that doesn’t sound like the kind of person that anybody would want to be guarding their cars, you need to do yourself a favor, leave the property like you were asked, you are tresspassing, and go check yourself into some kind of drug and alachol rehab, then find a new place to go and solicite people.

    • Dust Buster

      sounds like he is guarding their cars. just like the wise guys in new york “guard” your shop or store to make sure nobody breaks your windows or torches the place. if you forget vinney’s tribute to da boss, your shop will quickly become un-guarded and suffer a mishap

  • Dust Buster

    Jonny Fever, I have a few random questions/observations

    1, if you are keeping scrappers out then why is the place a hazard from all the scrappers?

    2, you are f-ing around a rocky unstable area, on your own will and you are a trespasser so nobody owes you for your knee.

    3, i dont think the reporter is lying about you telling them to “get the f out of here”

    it appears to me that you have an issue with drinking, property rights and a sense of misplaced entitlement. my advice is to seek some help and perhaps another vocation. good day sir

    • Sky J Logan

      Yes, it is true. I was there when the Packard owner told him and his attorney he didn’t need any more people. Yes, he has a drinking problem that why he demands money from people for $20.. If they don’t pay he informs that he not responsible for their cars and ask a friend to move it without informing the owner

      • Tad

        Ive been to the packard alot and why pay him to get drunk and watch your car? And if somebody dont pay him he gets pissed off and starts to knuckle up. And lastly no body is responsible for stolen merchandisefrom your car at the packard cause NOBODY SIMPLY CARES!

  • Pigpen pigpen

    If you dont pay Johnny do you automatically get your window broken?

  • john revel

    How Dare you write something that is not true. I do a service for the people that come down to Packard plant. I am not a homeless person that begs for money. I also have kept out all Scrapers and made people feel safe. I never asked for that kind of money from Fernando. He has been very supportive of me for my efforts in trying to keep the place safe. I take real offense to this kind of bad journalism. I think that this slander to my good name. If you have any questions please call me at 313-854-8588.

    • muckraker_steve

      John, we’ll happily include your response. But you got to be honest with yourself and others: You’ve been asked to leave and won’t. That’s the issue.

    • Visual Ronin

      I think the word you want to use is Libel. Slander is defamation of a person, their character or their business made verbally such as to a large crowd or broadcast.

      Either way, it is up to the person who is receiving the implied or supposed defamation to prove otherwise.
      And this is not to be confused with editorial opinion, which is a whole other can of worms entirely.

    • Tad

      Slander to your good name?! Your a drunk who has nothing better to do then get money from people (just like all the bums) and get drunk sitting on your concrete boulder.

  • Bruce Channell

    It’s a rough job but somebody has to do it!!

  • Gary

    “…because the plant had become a lawless wasteland under delinquent ownership.” – Sums up most of Detroit

  • Billy Blake

    When I visit to Packard Plant old Johnny always parks my car at the valet parking and keeps an eye on it. I usually pay him with a jug of his favorite spirits.