ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)– Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw is trying to take over the collection of fines from the Erie County Health Department.
We’re told businesses cited for COVID-19 violations would have decades to pay their fines.
Mychajliw said, “They’re hurting and I’m trying to help them through get through this crisis.”
The Comptroller tells us, when it comes to the fines lodged against more than 50 local businesses for violating COVID-19 restrictions, he believes he has the authority to take over collection of those fines from the health department and set up a long payment schedule.
“So on the low end of the scale, if they’re hit with a $1,000 fine or less they’ll have 20 years to pay it back. Anyone with a $15,000 fine or more, they have 100 years to pay it back.”Stefan Mychajliw, Erie County Comptroller
The County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who used to be the comptroller, says Mychajliw does not have the legal authority to do that.
Poloncarz said, “What the Comptroller did today is actually very reckless. He’s attempting to do is freeze the health department accounts which is used directly for the efforts of our contact tracers.”
The Cowboy Bar on Chippewa was ordered to temporarily shut down in July, then was fined in August, then was fined again last month for $1,000. Their attorneys are fighting it in court.
“What we have here is a situation in which the State Liquor Authority just came and took his liquor license right off the wall without the authority to do so. So we’re glad to see at least one County official has the gumption, the stones to do what’s right.”Steven Cohen, Hogan Willig Attorneys
Athletes Unleashed is also fighting a fine in court and attorney Paul Cambria tells us Mychajliw’s fine payment plan is nice but Cambria tells us he doesn’t think his client will need it.
These are the business closed or fined for covid-related issues since the start of the pandemic.