Burger King accused of allowing ‘open air drug bazaar’

Burger King, Drug bazaar, Criminal activity, Legal action, Professional drug dealers
Image: New York Post

A Burger King outlet located just blocks from New York City’s City Hall finds itself embroiled in controversy as a furious neighbor files a lawsuit against the fast-food giant, accusing it of facilitating an “open-air drug bazaar” on Fulton Street. Kevin Kaufman, a longtime resident of the area, has initiated legal action against Burger King, seeking US$15 million in damages for what he perceives as the fast-food operator’s complicity in transforming their neighborhood into a hotbed of criminal activity.

According to Kaufman’s lawsuit, the Burger King at 106 Fulton St. has become a hub for “professional drug dealers” who allegedly use the premises as a base of operations, openly conducting illegal drug transactions both inside and outside the restaurant. Kaufman, who has lived on the block for two decades, asserts that the situation has escalated to the point where the neighborhood is plagued by drug dealers, junkies, and individuals exhibiting erratic behavior.

“We’ve reached out to every direction we can, and the only ones that seem to be responsive and listening are the cops”, Kaufman lamented. Despite law enforcement efforts, which have resulted in several arrests, the neighborhood continues to grapple with the presence of drug dealers, exacerbating safety concerns for residents.

The Burger King’s vicinity to City Hall adds another layer of complexity to the issue, with residents questioning why more isn’t being done to address the escalating situation. One resident, who chose to remain anonymous, expressed frustration over the lack of action, emphasizing the need for local authorities to intervene and restore safety to the neighborhood.

Reports indicate a significant uptick in criminal activity in the vicinity, with two arrests and 143 calls to 911 related to incidents at the Burger King’s address since January 1, 2023. Concerns regarding public safety have prompted residents to question the viability of businesses in the area, with some wondering how the Burger King remains operational amidst the ongoing turmoil.

Evan Gillman, another neighbor, highlighted the persistent presence of individuals loitering outside the restaurant throughout the day, indicating a concerning pattern of behavior. As major crimes in the First Precinct, encompassing the Burger King and Fulton Center area, continue to rise, residents are demanding decisive action from local authorities to address the root causes of the problem.

Kaufman’s lawsuit targets not only the restaurant itself but also Burger King’s corporate office, alleging violations of New York’s private nuisance law. By seeking substantial damages, Kaufman hopes to compel Burger King to take responsibility for its role in perpetuating the neighborhood’s decline into what he describes as an “open-air drug bazaar”.

The legal action against Burger King comes amidst a broader conversation about the responsibility of retailers in addressing crime and public safety concerns in their communities. Recent lawsuits against major retailers, including Target and a 7-11 in Oregon, underscore the growing frustration among residents and the legal challenges faced by businesses operating in areas plagued by criminal activity.

In response to the allegations, Burger King’s owner, Lalmir Sultanzada, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, placing the onus on law enforcement and government officials to address the underlying issues. Sultanzada contends that private security measures are cost-prohibitive and argues that law enforcement agencies must take decisive action to combat criminal activity in the neighborhood.

As the legal battle unfolds, residents remain steadfast in their demand for accountability and action to restore safety and security to their neighborhood. With the city’s reputation at stake, the outcome of Kaufman’s lawsuit against Burger King may have far-reaching implications for businesses and communities grappling with similar challenges across New York City.


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