This is what the State does to small businesses. We should be demanding less government not more government, rules and regulations. It boggles my mind that so many people on this sub think government is the answer not more liberty and freedom. Will we humans ever learn or do we truly have Stockholm syndrome?
When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business. But that’s exactly what happened. Attorneys for the city threatened Sung with eviction merely because a “stolen property” offense had happened at his business.
The city presented Sung with a choice: See his business shut down or sign an agreement giving up constitutional rights—including his Fourth Amendment right to be free from warrantless searches of his business. Faced with the imminent closure of his laundromat, Sung had no real choice but to sign.
In New York City today, this experience is all too common. Under New York City’s so-called nuisance eviction ordinance—more appropriately termed a “no-fault” eviction ordinance—residents and business owners can be evicted simply because their home or business was the site of a criminal offense. Under the ordinance, the identity of the criminal offender is irrelevant. You can be evicted because a total stranger (or a friend or family member) decided your home or business was a good place to commit a crime.
City attorneys churn out no-fault eviction filings by the hundreds, relying on form templates and little more than NYPD officers’ say-so that the targeted home or business was the site of a crime. In many cases, the “proof” of the alleged criminal offense is an affidavit from an NYPD officer relaying vague allegations from unnamed confidential informants.
Moreover, under the ordinance, occupants of the home or business can be evicted without any notice. After being summarily evicted, occupants have just days to put together a case to persuade a judge to undo the eviction order.
City attorneys routinely offer to drop these no-fault eviction proceedings if occupants agree to waive their constitutional rights. Some, like Sung, are forced to sign agreements waiving their Fourth Amendment rights. Others are forced to sign agreements barring family members from the home—including family members who have not been accused of any crime.
Now, Sung is joining with other victims of the city’s conduct to bring a federal class action lawsuit challenging the city’s no-fault eviction ordinance. If the lawsuit is successful, past waivers of constitutional rights will be declared unenforceable and, going forward, this practice will be put to an end once and for all.