Today’s news:

Fine — and dandy! Bizwoman’s $3K summons is cut down to $75!

The Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Heights businesswoman who was facing $3,000 in fines for hanging a single envelope of business cards to a single lamppost last year fought City Hall — and won (mostly).

Susan Hager, the owner of the design firm Sketch & Hammer, was notified by mail last week that a city judge had knocked the fine down to just $75 — the fine for one violation.

“I’m elated,” Hager said. “As I said at my hearing [on Dec. 11], I was willing to pay for one violation. But it was unfair to give me the same ticket for all those cards in one envelope.”

Hager freely admits that she taped an envelope containing 15 business cards for her custom decks on a Court Street lamppost back in April. But Sanitation worker Sarah Leon fined Hager for each card inside the envelope, resulting in a summons for $3,000, so Hager took the fight to the Environmental Control Board.

Judge Todd Parkin agreed with Hager, and reduced the bill to just $75.

Hager was one of the lucky ones.

The owners of Paws-n-Claws, a Clinton Hill pet-grooming shop on Grand Avenue, are still fighting more than $8,700 in fines from October, 2008, when the city hit them with 116 violations for one batch of illegal posters.

“They’re still stickin’ us with it, but I can’t afford to pay so I haven’t,” co-owner Ricardo Olton told The Brooklyn Paper on Friday. “In November last year, I worked out a deal to pay back a little at a time, but now I’m skipping meals. I don’t know how much longer the business can last.”

Some small businessowners say that trigger-happy enforcement of sanitation and other “quality-of-life” crimes are the norm under Mayor Bloomberg. But a Sanitation Department spokesman defended the strict enforcement.

“It’s illegal posting,” said the spokesman, Matt LiPani. “If you post 20 cards on one pole or multiple poles, it’s 20 different infractions.”

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Reader Feedback

Candice from Greenpoint says:
If you don't want to pay fines, how about not breaking the law in the first place. I get the feeling that these businesses knew exactly what they were doing, and are now just bitter that they have to pay the consequences.

These adds they hang up become litter, and they are less attractive than grafitti. The city then has to clean up after the people who post these adds in places where adds are not allowed. What argument can they possibly have for breaking the law and then deciding themselves that they don't like the very appropriate punishment?
Jan. 11, 2010, 3:12 am
Publius from Bklyn Heights says:
Great, now this lady knows the "cost of doing business" of her illegal and annoying "advertising".

I like the part where she said she was "willing" to pay the $75, but no more.

Sweetheart, a penalty is not about what you're willing to do. It's about causing you financial pain and punishment so you don't repeat your crime. Alas, I suspect we'll be seeing her advertising around in the future.
Jan. 11, 2010, 1:24 pm
Fourth Estate from DUMBO says:
What of the bundles of political ads about how New Yorker's get the best deal in town because some candidate gets paid $1.00 a year. Or how about the ads about the guy 'who gets things done', and the ads talking about the environment, yet printed on un-recycled paper. Those ads were STUFFED in my mailbox, the light poles, the trees, even, yes, littered on the sidewalk. Has the city received fine revenue from this?
Jan. 11, 2010, 8:42 pm
Susan from Brooklyn Heights says:
You hate me because I'm beautiful! Don't be angry, I can't help it. And your jealousy only makes you ugly.

Take my card, hire me! I do stuff and I am so skinny from missing meals to pay for my crime.
Jan. 13, 2010, 1:47 pm

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