NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking heat for weighing in on Di Fara’s Pizza in Brooklyn.
He offered to help after the famous business was seized for failing to pay taxes, CBSN New York’s Andrea Grymes reported Wednesday.
The state shut down the pizzeria in Midwood for allegedly failing to pay more than $167,000 in taxes. On Wednesday morning, de Blasio weighed in on Twitter, writing:
“Di Fara is the best pizza place in New York City. It must be saved. I’m ready to do anything I can to get them reopened — as are thousands of New York City pizza-lovers. My team and I are looking into how we can help resolve this situation.”
Di Fara is THE best pizza place in New York City. It MUST be saved. I’m ready to do anything I can to get them reopened — as are thousands of New York City pizza-lovers.
My team and I are looking into how we can help resolve this situation. https://t.co/oL1jKxpgh5
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 21, 2019
The tweet has gotten hundreds of responses questioning the mayor/presidential candidate’s priorities and saying this is not the best use of City Hall resources.
One person wrote, “You eat pizza with a fork. How about you reform our tax system instead of granting an ad-hoc bailout?”
Another tweeted, “Too bad the homeless and the subways and the deteriorating housing projects don’t get this much attention from you. Resign & move to NJ.”
And another tweet said, “What about other businesses who are struggling & yet have paid their taxes?”
People on the streets weren’t necessarily against the mayor’s intentions.
“I think it’s a little ridiculous for the mayor. He should be worrying about other things than a pizza store on Avenue J, but it’s nice of him to want to do that,” said Al Cohen of Midwood.
“Hey, if the mayor can help them out, why not? They’re a legend here,” business owner Angelo Salzillo added.
“I suppose it’s good for his popularity because he’s got to be in the limelight,” added Barbara Becker of Flatlands.
Gus Vellios’ family has owned the Avenue J Florist, right across from Di Fara, for 90 years. He, like many others in the area, hopes the beloved spot reopens, but he added de Blasio has bigger fish to fry than Di Fara’s.
“If I don’t pay my taxes, is he going to come and give me a reprieve? Probably not,” Vellios said. “That’s great that he wants to help a pizzeria, but there’s other issues in New York that need help more than a pizzeria paying their taxes at the end of the day.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the mayor said they’re reaching out to the family that owns Di Fara’s to see whether there’s anything they can do to help.
The mayor’s office added the city is capable of focusing on many pressing issues at once.
The family that owns Di Fara Pizza told CBS2 they were on a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service, but in May, they fell behind.