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Fordham Road food vendor hit with $6,000 worth of tickets in one month

Fordham Road street vendors facing thousands in fines
Fordham Road street vendors facing thousands in fines 06:04

NEW YORK - For the last few months, CBS New York has spoken with street vendors in the Bronx about making the system more fair and equal for them after facing mounting fines from the Department of Sanitation

One vendor reached out to our Bronx Community Reporter Shosh Bedrosian to share his story.

Bronx resident Floriberto Diaz and his family prepare dozens of tamales for busy days on Fordham Road. They take more than three hours to make before they're ready for the food cart.

"We have to cook it in the night, 3 in the morning," Diaz said in Spanish.

Diaz is one of the hundreds of vendors that sell in the area, because he legally can't work anywhere else. Like many of them we've spoken with on Fordham Road, he's currently feeling the burden of DSNY enforcement sweeps.

"So right now, it's $6,000 dollars," said Diaz. 

He's facing $6,000 worth of tickets he received in just one month from DSNY. He says it would take seven to eight months to pay them off.

"For now, I am am behind on my rent and electricity bill," he explained.

From an incident stemming from January 23, Diaz received four tickets from DSNY -- two tickets per cart he was operating. Each ticket was worth $1,000, bringing the total to $4,000. One of the carts was also confiscated.

"Have you seen a case like this before? Someone hit with this many tickets, with this high of a penalty?" Bedrosian asked Mohamed Attia, the Managing Director at the Street Vendor Project (SVP).

"This is the first time I've seen 4 tickets, 4 thousand dollars in one inspection," Attia replied.

Attia showed Bedrosian the mounting pile of tickets vendors received from DSNY within the last year. He said the majority of these street vendors have the same thing in common with Diaz: they can't get permits to vend.

"It is not Floriberto's problem he doesn't have a permit, it's the city's problem for not offering these permits to Floriberto and other food vendors," said Attia.

According to SVP, the city only allows 5,100 mobile food vendor permits at a time. SVP says there are more than 10,000 people, like Diaz, on the waitlist.

"Everyone knows the vending system is unfair and it's outdated and it needs to be fixed. But very few people are ready to do the work to fix that system," said Attia.

SVP explains for vendors like Diaz, their livelihood depends on each item they sell, making it crippling to pay off hefty fines from the city.

"I would like them to understand us, which will help us more instead of having our lives screwed up. Sometimes we try to survive but no, they don't let us. They don't let us work," Diaz said in Spanish.

You can email Shosh with Bronx story ideas by CLICKING HERE

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