Nurzahan Begom v. City of New York Nurzahan Begom sells roasted nuts in Manhattan. In 2006, she recieved two tickets for vending within ten feet of a crosswalk. She brought her tickets to a “representative,” who never appeared in court. When Nurzahan tried to renew her vending license, she could not do so because she could not pay the outstanding fines for the two tickets, which had gone into default, totalling $2,200. The Environmental Control Board (“ECB”) refused to grant her hearings. SVP filed an Article 78 petition in the New York Supreme Court, asking the court to vacate the defaults so Nurzahan could renew her license and return to work. Justice Schlesinger granted the petition, stating that the City’s actions lacked a rational basis, and ordered the ECB to reschedule hearings on the outstanding tickets. Nurzahan renewed her license and went back to work.
Jamil Aklil v. City of New York Jamil Aklil is a hot dog vendor who has worked in lower Manhattan for the past 15 years. In 2010, he was prevented from renewing his mobile food vending permit because he submitted his application one week after the renewal deadline had passed. In fact, Jamil attempted to submit his application on time, but was delayed due to the City’s failure to send him a tax document he had requested nearly one month beforehand. The Street Vendor Project filed an Article 78 Petition in the Supreme Court asking for an order directing the City to accept his permit renewal application. The City settled the case and agreed to allow Jamil to send in his application and receive his permit.
Bada Gueye v. City of New York Bada Gueye, an immigrant from Senegal, was on the waiting list to receive a General Vendor’s license for 16 years. When his number finally came, he was in Senegal and did not return until one month after the deadline to submit his application had expired. Bada tried to explain why his application was late, but received no response from the Department of Consumer Affairs, who refused to accept his paperwork. The Street Vendor Project commenced an Article 78 proceeding in the Supreme Court seeking a judgment that would force the City to accept the license application. The City settled the case and agreed to accept Bada’s application and issue him a license.
Ousmane v. City of New York The Street Vendor Project filed this class action lawsuit (on behalf of all NYC vendors) to overturn the Environmental Control Board’s unannounced 2003 increase in vending fines. Judge Edmead granted us a preliminary injunction on September 28th, 2004, ordering the fines be decreased to their prior levels. Litigation continues, however, because the city has refused to send refund checks to all vendors.
Mastrovincenzo v. City of New York The Street Vendor Project represents two graffiti artists, Christopher Mastrovincenzo and Kevin Santso, who have been arrested and harassed for selling their work because the police did not believe it was “art.” In a very important opinion on April 8, 2004, federal judge Victor Marrero granted our motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the city to let the vendors vend. The city is appealing.
Pro bono counsel Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
People v. Kaminskaite The Street Vendor Project represented a Russian craft vendor who was arrested and prosecuted in New York City Criminal Court on charges that she sold goods on the street without a license. In 2002, we filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that defendant’s sale of her artwork was First Amendment-protected expression that did not require a license. All charges against the vendor were dismissed.
City of New York v. Dominguez The Street Vendor Project represented a Lower East Side hot dog vendor in New York State Supreme Court after the City seized his pushcart and sought its forfeiture in 2002. We filed a motion to dismiss the forfeiture on the grounds that, among other things, it would be unconstitutionally cruel to take away his livelihood for a minor, first-time violation. The City settled the case and returned the vendor’s property.
Cummings v. City of New York The Street Vendor Project filed this lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in 2002, challenging New York City’s arbitrary and unfair harassment of a food vendor in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The lawsuit sought a judicial declaration that the City’s enforcement of an obscure 1938 peddling regulation against the vendor was improper. The Court granted preliminary relief, allowing the vendor to return to her spot pending final resolution of the case.
Pro bono co-counsel: Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger, & Vecchione