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‘Are You Going to Pay My Rent?’: Business Owner Erupts on Gov’t Officials Issuing Him a Citation for Staying Open

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VAN HAPPEN: “I followed the rules! I continued to follow the rules and you guys still, time after time, are giving me citations, telling me I have to close my business! What about my employees?”

FEMALE INSPECTOR: “You’re not following the rules.”

VAN HAPPEN: “I’m not following the rules? My tables are inside. Just because the Health Department has a whole process to go through that takes however long that takes, I have to close my business for that time? Who’s going to — Are you going to pay my rent? Are you going to pay my rent?”

FEMALE INSPECTOR: “You chose to make those decisions.”

VAN HAPPEN: “I chose to protest by putting my tables outside and I reiterated that. I never sold one single person outside. I did all take-out food and delivery so what exactly I was supposed to be doing. That’s exactly what I did. I did not break any — and it was not even a law— I did not break any rule.”

FEMALE INSPECTOR: “There is a law that you’re breaking right now by operating without a permit.”

VAN HAPPEN: “Because you guys put this closure on my restaurant. So you guys yourselves are creating your own rule. And you’re giving out citations for your own rule that’s created. It’s not by law that you cannot sit outside and eat; that’s not law, that’s a form that I was given. So you can have people that pulled your citation based on that.”

MALE INSPECTOR: “It’s already been ordered. I’m not issuing a closure. I’m saying —“

VAN HAPPEN: “You guys closed me! You guys actually closed me!”

MALE INSPECTOR: “I’m not issuing a citation for closure. The restaurant is already closed. The permit has been suspended. However, your refusal to close warrants a description.”

VAN HAPPEN: “Because what am I going to do if I close? Are you going to pay my rent?”

MALE INSPECTOR: “No. No. All we need to do —“

VAN HAPPEN: “OK. So if you’re not going to pay my rent, I’m not closing.”

MALE INSPECTOR: “We need to reopen.”

VAN HAPPEN: “If you’re not going to pay my — I told you already.”

MALE INSPECTOR: “We could have reopened today. You could be open right now —“

VAN HAPPEN: “[indecipherable]”

MALE INSPECTOR: “We missed those steps. The steps that you need to take to make sure that you can open your business. You could have — You could have reopened already.”

VAN HAPPEN: “How? How?”

MALE INSPECTOR: “The steps are listed in the report that was given —“

VAN HAPPEN: “Which I did. I called the guy. The guy I spoke to on the phone, the supervisor, because he made a mistake, now it’s on me? He made a mistake. I recorded on my phone what he said.”

FEMALE INSPECTOR: “He didn’t make a mistake.”

VAN HAPPEN: “Yes, he did. He told me if I put it in writing to him on an email that I will follow the rules, that I will not put my tables for outside dining —“

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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