Serafim Katergaris was forced to pay $1,000 to the New York Department of Buildings (DOB) for a code violation he did not commit, did not know about and had no chance to challenge. Worse yet, the DOB did not let him appeal its decision. Had the DOB provided him a hearing or a chance to appeal, he would have shown that the violation was caused by a previous owner for a boiler that had been removed before he purchased the property—the precise type of facts that should relieve someone from responsibility for a fine. Sadly, this is a regular practice of the DOB.
In August 2022, Serafim teamed up with the Institute for Justice to file a class action lawsuit challenging DOB’s process of issuing “unreviewable” fines.