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Burger King faces $15M lawsuit for alleged failure to prevent ‘open air drug bazaar’
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Burger King faces $15M lawsuit for alleged failure to prevent ‘open air drug bazaar’

A New York City resident recently filed a $15 million lawsuit against a neighborhood Burger King for its failure to prevent drug dealers from overrunning the establishment, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Kevin Kaufman, a filmmaker, sued the fast-food location for its alleged part in turning “Fulton Street into an open air drug bazaar.” Drug dealers and homeless people have taken over the block, according to Kaufman, who has lived in the area for two decades.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, alleges that the Burger King’s owner has not done enough to prevent the illegal activities. “Professional drug dealers” use the establishment as a “base of operation, selling illegal drugs either at the entrance ... or during inclement weather, selling illegal drugs within the Burger King restaurant itself,” the complaint alleged.

Kaufman, 69, stated, “We’ve reached out to every direction we can and the only ones that seem to be responsive and listening are the cops.”

“Cops are doing everything they can to get rid of these people, but they’re handcuffed. It’s this idiotic bail reform. They have arrested a couple of people, but they are back within 24 hours,” he added.

Another resident, who requested anonymity, told the Post, “This is around the corner from the mayor, his office is right there, and it’s like ‘Dude, clean up your neighborhood.'”

He noted that the Burger King location “is never busy, the only people in there are poor, homeless or dealing drugs.”

A second anonymous resident questioned how the establishment has remained in business and why the owner is not doing more to prevent criminal activity.

Evan Gillman, a neighbor, told the Post, “There’s no restaurant patrons, no one goes in there to eat.”

Gillman stated that the drug dealers are at the Burger King “all day.”

Kaufman accused the restaurant’s owner, Lalmir Sultanzada, of failing to “take responsibility” for the criminal activity.

“He throws it on the lap of the cops instead of hiring security himself and policing his own store,” he told the Post.

The drug dealers “have long criminal records and are well known among local law enforcement,” Kaufman added.

Sultanzada explained that hiring private security would be too expensive.

“That’s not my problem ... it’s up to the police. I’m not selling drugs,” he said. “If I’m going to close the store. who’s going to be responsible for my loss?”

“They’re hanging around, they throw everything inside the stores. A couple of times they hit one of my managers,” Sultanzada remarked.

“We’ve got the same problem all over: 125th Street, same problem; 116th Street, same problem; go to the Bronx, same problem,” he continued. “It’s not me. Go talk with the government, talk with the police department, talk with the mayor, talk with the governor. ... They have to find a solution for those bums, not me.”

According to the New York Police Department, officers have responded to 143 calls and made two arrests related to the fast-food location since January 2023.

A spokesperson for the department said, “Quality of life complaints remain a real concern to residents in all city neighborhoods.”

“The NYPD deploys our officers where crime is reported in response to community complaints and will continue to address these conditions as the public demands and expects we should,” the spokesperson remarked.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →