Bronx man incorrectly given 1,056 sanitation tickets, owes $92,000

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Jim Hoffer has the latest

For nearly two years, New York City threatened to seize the property of a Bronx livery driver after the Department of Sanitation mistakenly targeted him for tens of thousands of dollars in littering fines.

Even after the court ruled he was not responsible, he says the harrassment continued.

"It is a bunch of stack of summonses the Department of Sanitation has sent to me," Bernardo Concepcion said. "They say I owe about $92,000."

The summonses started arriving in the mail in 2015, a total of 1,056 tickets, for "illegal posting of signs on the street."

The problem is that the "room for rent" signs that were illegally posted all over the Bronx have nothing to do with him. They're ads for a rental business in Kingsbridge, miles from his apartment, a business he's never had any dealings with.

He repeatedly told them it wasn't him, to no avail.

"I be going to court back and forth," he said. "Back and forth."

He thought he had finally broken through the bureaucratic wall in January, when a judge for the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings ruled in his favor and declared that he had been named improperly based on his testimony and documentary evidence. The summonses were dismissed.

But two weeks later, a letter arrived in the mail saying he still owed the city $72,000 and that he must address the outstanding judgements in order to avoid legal enforcement action such as seizure of his property.

"I really feel nervous about this, because I don't have nothing," he said. "But it's going to affect me, my every day living."

Hours after we reached out to the sanitation department, the city dropped its prosecution of the summonses. He is no longer responsible for them, news that lifts nearly two years of worry off his shoulders.

"I feel happy with a big smile," he said. "But really happy thanks to my client who recommended to call 7 On Your Side. "

Sanitation officials said they were pleased to have been able to resolve the misunderstanding.
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