New York - 4 Hot Dog Vendors Owe $700K In Fines
New York - The city will apparently never "ketchup" to these scofflaws.
Four Midtown hot-dog vendors collectively owe more than $700,000 in unpaid summonses for a slew of safety violations -- and they have no intention of ever paying up.
"Last year, I got 29 tickets in one day. That's $15,000 in [fines] in one day! How can I pay that?" griped Turky Abdelrehem, 26, who sells shish kabobs and frankfurters on East 55th Street near Fifth Avenue.
Abdelrehem owes a total of $164,050 for a series of summonses dating back to 2007, city records show.
Actually, "I owe a lot more than that," the vendor conceded.
"Anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000. It is frustrating, and I feel bad," he said. "[But] how can I come up with that much money?"
Reasons tickets are issued to food vendors run the gamut from being too close to a crosswalk to not wearing a hairnet.
The city's deadbeat vendors still owe $14.9 million in unpaid fines -- nearly all of the entire $15.8 million worth of summonses that were written to them between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, records show.
But collecting on the fines is a complicated affair. The NYPD, Health Department and Sanitation Department write the tickets, but it's up to the Department of Finance to collect, and that can only be done after hearings by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.
On Friday, vendor Mohamed Rashad, who works at East 54th Street and Fifth Avenue, was ticketed while being interviewed by The Post.
A uniformed Midtown North cop walked up to Rashad's cart and said, harshly, "Give me your ID."
The officer returned 30 minutes later with summonses for being less than 10 feet away from the crosswalk and displaying pretzels on the flat surface of his cart -- a no-no.
"They do this every day, and if I ask them why, they'll give me four tickets instead of two," said Rashad, 29.
NYPD spokeswoman Detective Cheryl Crispin said, "The police officers issue summonses as violations are observed."