Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bloomberg Rigs Small Business Evaluations

This is sickening:

Retail business owners have complained for years about the skyrocketing violations and sky-high fines slapped on them by the Department of Consumer Affairs under Mayor Bloomberg.

But a Daily News investigation shows that the unrelenting ticket blitz is no accident.

Top department officials secretly instituted a quota system several years ago to get inspectors to write more violations, internal agency records obtained by The News show.

Agency inspectors are tracked each month by the number of citations they write. They are urged to “keep numbers high,” and most are expected to maintain a “25% threshold,” the documents show.

That means they should produce an average of one violation for every four businesses they inspect.
One of the most stunning fines uncovered by The News was levied on a Queens discount store, a whopping $14,000 for 14 toy guns that cost the store owner about 65 cents each. The barrels of the orange guns were supposed to be plugged, city officials said.

The News also interviewed more than a half-dozen Consumer Affairs Department employees, who shed light on the city’s clandestine cash cow.

“I was recently given a bad evaluation for not meeting my 25% quota,” one angry inspector told The News. “They want us to look for anything to go after a business.”

The businesses include bodegas, catering halls, discount stores, gas stations and hair-braiding shops. Some have been forced out of business due to staggering violations that often cost owners tens of thousands of dollars.
“Instead of protecting consumers, the entire agency has been turned into a piggy bank for the city,” a high-ranking Consumer Affairs Department official disgusted with the agency’s actions said. “And the people being victimized the most are immigrant businesses that can’t afford good lawyers.”

Even the agency’s judicial process, in which a business owner can challenge a fine at a hearing, has been tainted by the drive for more revenue, the employees claim. Top brass routinely pressure administrative law judges presiding at those hearings to rule in the city’s favor. And agency bosses have have edited judges’ opinions before they were issued, according to documents and emails obtained by The News.

If the judges, who are supposed to be impartial, resist the pressure, they say, they get overruled by superiors, who must sign off on any rulings. At least two of those judges recently filed formal complaints with the city Department of Investigation over the actions of their supervisors.

The whole process rigged to screw the little guy - even the appeals process.

Take note on the quota system - 25% - for finding violations.

You can bet there will be a quota from Bloomberg next year on "ineffective" ratings for teachers.

And the appeals process will be just as rigged as the one described by Juan Gonzalez above.

How come Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg LP don't get hit with fines by the city when they break the law?

Bloomberg's New York - truly a model in oligarchy.

1 comment:

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