The Brooklyn Heights businesswoman who was facing $3,000 in fines for hanging a single envelope of business cards to a single lamppost last year fought City Hall — and won (mostly).
Susan Hager, the owner of the design firm Sketch & Hammer, was notified by mail last week that a city judge had knocked the fine down to just $75 — the fine for one violation.
“I’m elated,” Hager said. “As I said at my hearing [on Dec. 11], I was willing to pay for one violation. But it was unfair to give me the same ticket for all those cards in one envelope.”
Hager freely admits that she taped an envelope containing 15 business cards for her custom decks on a Court Street lamppost back in April. But Sanitation worker Sarah Leon fined Hager for each card inside the envelope, resulting in a summons for $3,000, so Hager took the fight to the Environmental Control Board.
Judge Todd Parkin agreed with Hager, and reduced the bill to just $75.
Hager was one of the lucky ones.
The owners of Paws-n-Claws, a Clinton Hill pet-grooming shop on Grand Avenue, are still fighting more than $8,700 in fines from October, 2008, when the city hit them with 116 violations for one batch of illegal posters.
“They’re still stickin’ us with it, but I can’t afford to pay so I haven’t,” co-owner Ricardo Olton told The Brooklyn Paper on Friday. “In November last year, I worked out a deal to pay back a little at a time, but now I’m skipping meals. I don’t know how much longer the business can last.”
Some small businessowners say that trigger-happy enforcement of sanitation and other “quality-of-life” crimes are the norm under Mayor Bloomberg. But a Sanitation Department spokesman defended the strict enforcement.
“It’s illegal posting,” said the spokesman, Matt LiPani. “If you post 20 cards on one pole or multiple poles, it’s 20 different infractions.”