Skip to comments.Small Business Struggles to Survive, All Because of Gun-Shaped Lighter (NYC)
Posted on 05/02/2013 9:24:56 PM PDT by neverdem
The owner of a small business in New York City is facing a $60,000 fine, thousands in legal fees, and the potential loss of his business all because he carried a dozen three-inch, gun-shaped lighters which caught the eye of a city inspector.
When you hear something like this, youre going to have a couple of nightmares, Fred Shayes tells me, leaning across the counter of his midtown Manhattan shop, US Camera & Computer Inc. Nervous, he wont let me photograph him or tape-record the interview.
Shayes, who immigrated to the U.S. from Iran, founded the business in 2006, pouring his life savings into the endeavor. Today, it supports four to five employees and their families. But if the $60,000 fine stands in court, well have to close, he says.
The New York Post broke the story, reporting today that city law prohibits the sale of toy guns unless theyre brightly colored with a legible identification stamp a requirement that has cost city businesses more than $2.4 million in fines over the past seven years.
But Shayes says he had no idea the tiny lighters were contraband, and adds, Ive never seen any real gun like that.
The lighters were a first-time order, and they had just arrived in the mail when the city inspector came, Shayes said. Were not trying to carry illegal stuff here, he says. I was shocked. I had no idea this kind of thing could be illegal. When it comes to the U.S. [through customs] and it comes to us, it should already be legal. . . . When the inspector told me we couldnt sell them, I [immediately] took them and sent them back to the supplier.
Even though it was his first violation, the city imposed the maximum possible fine of $5,000 per item, though other similar businesses have gotten away with a warning in the same circumstances. Shayes petitioned the Department of Consumer Affairs, which refused to revoke the fine. Now, hes appealing the decision in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Its going to cost a lot of money and a lot of hassle, he says. We try to stay in business. We pay our taxes, and we do what we can to support our family. But this kind of fine . . .
FReepmail me if you want on or off my New York ping list.
if you’re not a kindred liberal spirit, you will get no mercy from liberals in power. they wil give other libs a pass because they see themselves in those liberals, and they never do anything wrong on purpose. even if they do they didn’t understand the severity of what they did so it’s still an honest mistake.
if you aren’t a liberal, you can only do things for the wrong reasons and they will presume you did, and they will work to find a reason, any excuse fora tyrant.
Someone wants his store front or something.
You have to be insane to stay in NYC, dig a moat, string razor wire and seal the damned mess up!
In NY State now, buying a cigarette lighter one must show picture ID and have one’s name written down by the store clerk.
apparently, cigarette lighters are considered “explosive.”
NY State has gone nuts.
Gee, I always gave my kids lighters to play with. These are NOT “toys”. People are so stupid.
Sounds like he picked the wrong city to settle in after he came here. He should have gone to Fort Worth, Flagstaff or Great Falls.
Has that happened to you? Do you have a link?
Uhm....It is surrounded by a fast moving moat....
“Sounds like he picked the wrong city to settle in after he came here.”
Maybe he just should have stayed in Iran. All he did was trade one set of petty tyrants for another.
It has tunnels, bridges and no razor wire!
The owner of a small business in New York City... that was his first mistake.
Only in Bloombergistan . . .
Nanny State PING!
Enacted in 2005 or 2006? Definitely a Bloomberg idea, IMO.
“In NY State now, buying a cigarette lighter one must show picture ID and have ones name written down by the store clerk.”
We are living in a world gone mad.
This guy was selling a product relating to both smoking AND guns? In Bloomturd-istan? Execute him twice!
And that's just Manhattan anyway. What about the other boroughs?