BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A decision to shut down a child’s lemonade stand in upstate New York is stirring up controversy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is weighing in after the New York State Department of Health ordered a 7-year-old boy to close down his stand, saying he needed a permit.
Brendan Mulvaney makes a mean lemonade – and at a bargain, too.
“Stir it up and voila! You’ve got lemonade!” he explained.
He’s been selling the summer staple at his stand on his parents’ porch for the last few years. But over the weekend, his father said his stand was shut down by the state.
“Nothing he did was wrong,” said his father, Sean Mulvaney.
A spokesperson for the state health department said an inspector stopped by the stand after receiving complaints from vendors at the Saratoga County Fair across the street. The spokesperson claimed the stand looked “too structured” and “much greater than the average little kid’s spontaneous lemonade stand.”
The Mulvaneys were told by law, they need to pay for a permit for the second grader to operate his stand.
“There’s more important things in life than shutting down a kid’s lemonade stand,” his dad said.
Sen. Jim Tedisco said “it boggles the mind” and called the state’s response a complete overreach that lacks common sense. He’s now drafting legislation called the Lemon-Aide Law to help keep children-run lemonade stands open for business in New York State.
“We’re spending time fighting the real criminals now – the 7-year-olds out in their front yard selling lemonade. Those are not the criminals of New York State,” he said. “These are families who are trying to teach their kids some important lessons.”
CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer asked the governor about the issue.
“I’m going to look into the facts. But if it was a 7-year-old with a lemonade stand, we’re going to get him his lemonade stand back,” said Cuomo.
Shortly after, the governor said in a statement, “Today I directed the Department of Health to reach a resolution with the Mulvaney family to ensure that Brendan’s Lemonade Stand can continue to operate. If a permit is needed, I will personally pay for any necessary fees. We support Brendan’s entrepreneurial spirit and wish him the best of luck.”
Brendan said working the stand has taught him a lot.
“Be respectful and learning math and stuff,” he said.
His father said they plan to reopen the stand – this time, to raise money for a 12-year-old family friend who’s battling Blount’s disease, which affects the growth plates in her legs.