New York City Cites Hurricane Sandy Victims For Failure To Maintain Property

This is insane:

Residents in one Queens neighborhood are crying foul after they were written up for failing to clean up the city’s own mess. It is yet another new complication in life after Superstorm Sandy.

Rosanne and Joe Cavaliere are still trying to clean up from the hurricane.

They have branches through their roof, busted front windows, and, to add insult to injury, they recently received a citation notice from the city

“It makes me angry, but it’s also ridiculous!” Rosanne Cavaliere told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.

They got it on Nov. 9, cited with “failure to maintain” their property.

But as they pointed out to CBS 2’s Schneider on Tuesday night, it’s a city tree that they were waiting for the city to remove.

“It was over two weeks before someone came and removed it from the house, and we were patient enough with that, but then to just be slapped with a violation,” Joe Cavaliere said.

The Department of Buildings said the citation is a mere formality. It’s a way to keep track of all downed trees.

But for people in this neighborhood…it’s a permanent mark on their property that they want removed from the records.

“They’re not only upset, but they’re insulted. And they’re nervous! They don’t know what’s going to happen as a result of having this violation,” said Elaine Young of the local neighborhood association.

The Department of Buildings released the following statement: “We have been working closely with property owners as they prepare to rebuild, and part of our process is documenting the damage that has occurred. These violations do not carry any monetary penalties, and if any homeowner has a question, please call 311.”

But that explanation didn’t fly with the Cavalieres.

“I want the violation off my house, off my record, and all of our neighbors,” Rosanne Cavaliere said.

At the very least, this is an example of really bad public relations on the part of the city. More likely, it’s an example of bureaucracy gone nuts.

FILED UNDER: Bureaucracy, Natural Disasters, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    Thanks, Obama.

  2. Geek, Esq. says:

    It makes sense that they need some kind of mechanism for tracking so many trees, but this was very poorly explained.

  3. TastyBits says:

    This is just the beginning for them. The citation will be used later to establish that they are not progressing quickly enough or in the approved way. The tragedy for some is an opportunity for others. Under the guise of “doing what is best for the community”, some will attempt to get rid of the undesirables. This is not the work of some lowly clerical worker following the rules. This was a decision made by somebody higher up, and that somebody is not in the same situation as the people being cited.

    Unfortunately, they will need to get used to it. My suggestion would be to get some dentures. They will be getting kicked in the teeth by the government – a lot.

  4. @Geek, Esq.:

    Agreed.. understand what they were trying to do, there are a lot of old trees in areas like Queens, but it wasn’t very well though out in it’s execution

  5. wr says:

    @TastyBits: Black helicopters! Agenda 21!!!!

  6. JKB says:

    Really, even if the best writers tried, they’d never be able to write bureaucrats such as the reality of those in NY city. It wouldn’t seem believable that bureaucrats could be so, well, bureaucratic.

    But as I’ve said before, bureaucracies are evil, and no matter how nice they are in their private life, bureaucrats are evil in the performance of their duties.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    One part of bureaucracy not talking to the other. And anyone who thinks that equivalent silliness doesn’t happen in the private sector has a very naive view of life.

    At least with public organizations they’re a little easier to yell at and get someone to do something. With the private sector it’s phone tree hell….

  8. TastyBits says:


    Sorry. Been there. Done that.

    Two months ago, many of these folks would have agreed with you. Unfortunately, many of them are going to learn how wrong you are. Hopefully, you never are forced to learn.

  9. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Just imagine if they’re caught with 7-11 Big Gulps in their possession. Yikes.

    That aside, as someone who not only had the displeasure of growing up in NYC, but who did so back in the dark days, pre-Giuliani, when the Big Apple truly was the Big Rotten Apple, I can say that bureaucrats in Gotham make other bureaucrats look like paradigms of common sense and sound judgment.

    Just imagine a zombie procreating with Dax Shepard’s character from “Idiocracy.” Then that hell spawn being given a government clerical job. That’s with whom you’re dealing when you deal with the NYC bureaucracy. I’m not joking.

  10. bill says:

    “it’s going to be on your permanent record!” boy do i miss the northeast…..

  11. A says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Check your facts. Big Gulps are perfectly legal

  12. anjin-san says:

    But as I’ve said before, bureaucracies are evil

    Bureaucracies can certainly suck, but evil? As opposed to say, the kind of chaos you have in failed government states? Or having modern buildings pancake in an earthquake like the did in Turkey not too long ago due to lack of building codes and/or code enforcement?