Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Fine mess for Forest Hills shops
From the Daily News:
A couple of missing muffin labels could end up costing bagel shop owner Matt Davidov a whole lot of dough.
Davidov said he is facing hundreds of dollars in fines because city inspectors cited him for failing to place manufacturing information on several wrapped cakes and for not posting a refund policy inside his Forest Hills shop.
“Who posts a refund policy in a deli?” he asked. “If someone complains, I will replace it for them.”
The fines totalled $2,300 but the city offered to settle for $675.
Shopowners in Queens, already squeezed by high rents and a shaky economy, say the city is treating them like cash cows, slapping them with frivolous fines.
But city officials noted that New Yorkers depend on inspectors to protect them.
Some Forest Hills mom-and-pop shops said they feel especially targeted in recent months by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Jim Hartofilis, owner of Dana’s Flower Shop on Queens Blvd., said an inspector walked into his store last month as he was setting out a new bucket of bouquets.
Before he had a chance to put the pricetags on, he was delayed by a phone order. The next thing he knew he was handed a violation that comes with a $500 fine.
The inspector also cited him for missing price signs on an outdoor plant display.
“The wind must have blown it away,” Hartofilis said. “This was ridiculous.”
The ticket came with a cruel twist. If he wants to challenge it, his court date would on Valentine’s Day — the busiest day on the floral shop calendar.
If he pleads guilty by mail, he gets a reduced fine of $250.