NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says city inspectors are taking advantage of small business owners in the outer boroughs.
He said he had to sue to get the numbers that prove it.
“We talk openly about sexism or racism. This is boroughism,” he said at City Hall on Thursday. “This is clear bias according to borough.”
Not only are inspections and fines up, but outer borough businesses are hit more often.
The number is eight percent higher in the Bronx than the city average. It’s 14 percent lower in Manhattan.
“It’s a striking pattern,” he said.
Things that used to be ignored are now fair game, according to the Public Advocate.
“The fact that the fork and knife in the table was too far out over the napkin,” he said as an example.
David Moo, who owns the Quarter Bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn, said his friend was fined for having a fork behind the bar that was covered in wax.
“He pointed out that this is a fork used for cleaning candles,” Moo said.
“This is Kafka-esque here when you get a fine for a fork that’s dirty and could be used for food in an establishment that doesn’t serve food. I mean that’s how crazy it’s gotten,” said de Blasio.
“And a lot of these inspectors are nasty. They don’t understand the community,” said Frank Garcia with the Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. “We’re losing three to four businesses a day thanks to the mayor.”
De Blasio said Mayor Michael Bloomberg is balancing his budget “on the backs of these small businesses.”
“It’s quite clear to me now why some people at City Hall did not want this information to come out,” de Blasio said.
“Fines are very easy to avoid. Just dont do what we’re trying to prevent you from doing and you’ll be fine,” Mayor Bloomberg said in statement
“I’m not going to sit here and answer every one of the their campaign slogans,” he said. “If you want to have people not do something societies thought they shouldn’t do, you raise the fines, you don’t reduce the fines.”
It’s worth noting that DeBlasio didn’t say anything about raising or lowering fines.