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Some small businesses hit with unexpected fine from city during “Tardy Gras” celebrations


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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — Some small business owners who were looking to bank on the big “Tardy Gras” celebration Friday night in Mobile, selling goods on the sidelines, were met with an unexpected visit from mobile city workers.

“It was really kinda sad to see, about 7:00 at the height of the crowd, you know the city revenue employees came… along with a police officer, and they said, you know, you pay the hundred dollar fee right now or we shut you down and they did,” said John Serda, whose brewery sits right along the parade route.

Serda shared his frustration on Facebook, posting this video as vendors were set up on his property and asked to show proof of a special events license by city workers, something Serda says the vendors were not aware of.

“Last night, nobody knew about it you know. It was a one night thing they didn’t know about it.”

He says as people stood in line to buy from small booths some vendors were told to pay $100 or close down, some of them cutting the night short because they couldn’t pay the fine.

“She was here selling her cupcakes and she paid the $100 dollar fee. She was one of them that paid the $100 fee. I doubt she made $100 that night.”

Serda says it’s sad to see considering the tough year many of the small business owners have had.. brought down by COVID and the cancelled Carnival season.

“It’s like wow, why kick people while they’re down, you know. These people are struggling to rebuild what they have and all the money that they lost.”

City councilman Levon Manzie, who was tagged in a comment on Serda’s Facebook post said he would quote: “see if the tickets can be rescinded.”

FOX10 News did reach out to the city to see how many vendors were fined Friday night, but we have not gotten a response yet.

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