NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn community wants the sanitation department to clean up its act after some residents say they were ticketed for no reason.
It’s a situation that some homeowners say doesn’t smell right.READ MORE: Gen. Colin Powell Remembered Fondly At His Alma Mater, CCNY, And In The Bronx, Where He Was Raised
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, they claim to have video proving sanitation workers issued them false tickets for garbage.
“This is fraudulent, what they did,” said Williamsburg resident Abe Lichtenstein, who couldn’t believe his eyes earlier this month.
He said a New York City Department of Sanitation worker parked outside his home on Heyward Street and, minutes later, got out of the vehicle, walked by his barren sidewalk and driveway, and left a summons outside his door for, “A large accumulation of scattered bottle(s), cup(s), paper bag(s), piece(s) of paper on sidewalk.”
“I came out of my house and I looked at the sidewalk and I looked at the gate and I see nothing, not even a toothpick,” Lichtenstein told Rozner. “So how can this happen that I got a summons?”
Abe Rutner lives in the same neighborhood and asked himself the same question. Surveillance video from 2017 captured a sanitation car pulling up to the clean sidewalk in front of his home before a worker left a summons and walked down the street.
Eventually, that summons was dismissed, but it left Rutner wondering why this is still happening.
“It has to be stopped. It can’t happen that a city official abuse their power,” he said. “Not everybody is going to go and fight them and it’s basically a word against a word, and if you don’t have proof, nothing happens.”READ MORE: Some Play Blame Game As Gas Prices Reach Highest Level In Years, But There's No Dispute It's Impacting Bottom Line For Many Families
State Senator Simcha Felder and City Council Member Kalman Yeger recently sponsored both state and city legislation that would require all city agencies issuing summonses to provide photos to document violations. Photos are not currently required.
The Department of Sanitation told Rozner any agent found to write a ticket for false conditions is disciplined and receives a refresher training.
A sanitation spokesperson said, “All New Yorkers have a right to clean, safe streets, and the Department of Sanitation relies on the great work on our agents for enforcement.”
The spokesperson said enforcement agents do not have ticket quotas.
Lichtenstein, an NYPD community liaison, said it’s not about paying the $100 fine for him. He said it’s integrity that matters.
“I’m trying to root out any city worker that’s not by the law,” Lichtenstein said.
As for his case, the sanitation department said it’s continuing to look into it and noted the video may not tell the full story.
Yeger and Felder said they’ve tried to work with sanitation officials on cases like Lichtenstein’s to improve the system, but said conversations have been empty.MORE NEWS: Scientists, Emergency Planners Conducting Air Flow Study In NYC This Week To Improve Response Protocols
Elected officials are calling for an investigation into the agents and said judges who dismiss the tickets after reviewing video evidence should report the workers to the inspector general.