April 11 Press Conference: City Rescinds Thousands in Illegal Chinatown 'BID' Fees After Property Owners Protest

Friday, Apr 6, 2012

Bethany2.JPGChinatown, NY -- The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Property Tax Payers' Association, and small property owners in Chinatown will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 10 in Chinatown to announce that New York City's Department of Finance and Department of Small Business Services have admitted that property owners were wrongfully charged illegal Business Improvement District (BID) fees.

After the City Council voted to increase Chinatown property fees by establishing a BID over the protests of property owners already crippled by the current recession, the Department of Finance held the same property owners responsible for thousands of dollars in BID fees for months before it was even in place.

When AALDEF and the Property Tax Payers' Association, a group formed to protect the rights of small property owners in Chinatown, objected to the retroactive fees, according to news reports at least one BID official claimed there was no error.

In response to the property owners' persistent advocacy and AALDEF's resolve to take legal action on their behalf, the City has admitted that the fees were wrongfully imposed, and will be issuing a reimbursement.

"We maintained from the start that the Chinatown property owners were being charged unlawfully for the BID," said Bethany Li, staff attorney at AALDEF. "Because the property owners successfully stood up for themselves, the City admitted its mistake. We're glad that struggling small property and business owners will not have to bear the burden of illegal, retroactive fees."

PRESS CONFERENCE INFORMATION

Time:            11 am, Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Location:     19 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013

Speakers:    Bethany Li, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
                       Jan Lee, Chinatown property owner

Please RSVP to Ujala Sehgal at 212-966-5932 ext. 217 or usehgal@aaldef.org.

Contact:
Bethany Li
Staff Attorney, AALDEF
212.966.5932 ext. 213
bli@aaldef.org

Ujala Sehgal
Communications Coordinator, AALDEF
(P) 212.966.5932 ext. 217
(C) 646.207.1497
usehgal@aaldef.org