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11/3/16 UPDATE: Viverito's Vending $candal

by Robert Lederman

NYC Council Speaker Mellisa Mark Viverito with MOVE Systems CEO James Meeks (L)
Extensive evidence [linked at the end of this article] indicates that City Council Speaker Mellisa MarkViverito is working with a corporation, MOVE Systems, to privatize all vending in NYC under the
deception that they are helping immigrant vendors. MOVE Systems is financed by Wall Street
billionaires, a natural gas company, one of the nations largest financial service providers and NYC real
estate investors.
As a key part of this corrupt backroom deal, the Speaker has thrown her full influence behind Intro
#1303-2016, a misguided law creating thousands of new food vending permits, seemingly in order to
serve the interests of MOVE Systems.
The NY Times Editorial Board has confirmed that Speaker Mellisa Mark-Viverito is behind
Intro # 1303:
The NY City Council is considering a plan to double, over seven years, the number of food carts
and trucks on the streets....The legislation, sponsored by the Council speaker, Melissa MarkViverito...
If the hidden agenda behind Intro #1303-2016 is implemented, it could end the livelihoods of the City's
20,000 independent veteran vendors, street artists and food vendors and replace them with a citywide
vending monopoly run by one corporation.
*MOVE Systems Is No Mom And Pop Food Vending Operation
It's board of directors includes:

*Richard Schaeffer, the billionaire former Chairman of NYMEX Holdings, Inc. and the New York
Mercantile Exchange;
*Winston C. Fisher, the billionaire Co-Chair of the NYC Regional Economic Development Council
who serves as a Trustee on the Citizens Budget Commission. He is a member of the Real Estate and
Construction Council of Lincoln Center, serves on the Board of the Realty Foundation of New York,
and is on the Board of Trustees at Syracuse University;
*Tom Higgins, Chief Administrative Officer of First Data, a mobile financial services corporation.
Higgins retired in 2010 after a 24-year career with the U.S. Government. He worked in the national
security and foreign policy areas and was a member of the Senior Executive Service. Prior to joining
First Data, Higgins was the head of Operational Control at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Why are Wall Street bankers, an international financial services corporation, a natural gas energy
provider, a former national security officer and the ambitious Speaker of the NY City Council involved
in an effort by a food vending corporation to monopolize all NYC vending?

Speaker Viverito posing in MOVE food cart outside City Hall

*Follow The Money
An average food cart in NYC will consistently earn $1,500 to $3,000 a day if it establishes regular
customers or is located in an area with tourists. Assuming an average take of $1,500 from one cart and
multiplying that by just the 500 MOVE carts Speaker Viverito initially plans to install on the streets via
Intro #1303-2016, that would come to $750,000 a day.
Multiply that steady stream of dependable food cart sales by 365 days and it comes to $273,750,000
per year. Expand that figure to the thousands of new food carts Intro#1303 intends to place on NYC
streets and you have a pie with enough slices to feed the hungriest politicians, including the bill's 13 cosponsors.

According to a press release distributed by Council Speaker Viverito about the MOVE food cart
initiative (see evidence below), NYC has nearly 8,000 food carts.
From the text of Intro #1303-2016: Intro #1303-2016 would gradually expand the number of permits
to vend food on the streets and sidewalks of New York City, roughly doubling the total number over the
course of seven years.
The Speaker apparently envisions an armada of 16,000 MOVE Systems food carts under this law.
Other than a financial incentive, what could possibly induce Speaker Viverito to reverse 100 years of
determined efforts by the City Council to reduce the number of vendors in NYC, and instead to literally
double them?
Under current NYC rules, all food carts are required to meet stringent standards of construction and
operation, including sanitation and NYC Health Department specifications about the commissaries
where they are stored overnight, sanitized and supplied with food. Speaker Viverito's City Council
writes all the vending laws and could change them at any time so as to benefit MOVE, which is already
deeply involved in the commissary business.
Once the MOVE carts become the new standard, the thousands of electronic ad-covered food carts that
Speaker Viverito envisions would have to comply with the same high tech design features.
MOVE systems would provide the carts, the natural gas, the advertising, the mobile financial services,
the electrical pedestals that MOVE and Con Ed will have to install citywide to serve the carts, and the
hundreds of commissaries as required by NYC law to service, supply and clean all the food carts.
Imagine the revenue from supplying, cleaning and fueling 16,000 standardized food carts.
*Why Doesn't MOVE Systems Operate the Initial 500 New Food Carts Themselves? Why Issue
Thousands Of New Food Permits To Illegal Vendors When NYC is Allegedly Overwhelmed With
The Present Number Of Legal Vendors?
This is the key-point exposing the scam behind Intro #1303-2016. It explains how the new law and the
MOVE agenda are directly connected:
Under NYC law you can only own one food vending permit
Without thousands of immigrant vendors to lease or sell them their newly issued food vending permits,
MOVE systems could operate only one food cart. If the City Council were not persecuting immigrant
food vendors on a daily basis, there would be no demand for the MOVE carts and no backroom deal for
the Councilmembers sponsoring this bill.
*Intro #1303 Expands and Perpetuates The Black Market In Food Vending
The City Council's Consumer Affairs Committee held an 8 hour long hearing on Intro #1303 on
October 26, 2016. (A video of the entire hearing is linked below). Numerous NYC officials from a
variety of agencies, and disabled veteran food vendors, claimed that thousands of food vending permits
are currently being illegally sold or leased at the going rate of $20,000 per year.
Officials from DCA (The Department of Consumer Affairs), the NYC Dept. of Health and the NYPD
testified that as many as 90% of the estimated 10,000 food carts now on the street were black market;
meaning that the individual who obtained the food vending permit illegally sold or leased it to the
current holder.
Move Systems is already leasing permits from food cart vendors and plans to use Intro #1303 to obtain
thousands more.
From: AM-NY 4/11/05 Eco-friendly food carts to hit NYC sidewalks

Once the 500-cart pilot is met, vendors can renew their lease, while the company continues to put
more MRV100 on streets at no cost to the proprietor; the carts have not been priced for sale, Meeks
Many if not all of the immigrant vendors who obtain the new permits will end up participating in the
illegal black market, selling their permits to MOVE while continuing to vend illegally from
substandard carts. After obtaining the permits, MOVE can afford to provide their carts for free because
they will be selling the vendors working in them all their supplies, fracked gas and electricity as well as
getting millions each month in revenue from the ads on the carts and millions more in fees it will earn
from all the credit card transactions on all of the carts.
In other words, Viverito's vending privatization agenda would actually double the existing black market
rather than reducing or ending it.
*The Natural Gas Connection Behind This Deceptive Vending Initiative
Among the biggest political controversies in NY is the issue of fracking natural gas. One of the world's
largest reservoirs of shale gas is the Marcellus region of Upstate NY, which is also the source of all
NYC drinking water.
Activists have successfully pressured Governor Cuomo to ban shale gas fracking due to the many
health, safety and environmental issues. In States where fracking is widespread, like Oklahoma and
Pennsylvania, shale fracking has caused thousands of earthquakes, polluted ground water and damaged
the health of people and animals. For now, there is a total ban on gas fracking in NY State.
If fracking were to permanently pollute NYC's pristine water source (considered the best drinking
water in the U.S.) it would create an immediate financial, social and public health catastrophe.
Estimates are that the City would have to spend billions to construct a new water filtration plant where
none is now needed.
It would be hard to find a single resident constituent of Speaker Viverito's that wants gas fracking to be
legal in Upstate NY, yet she is boosting the gas industry and exploiting immigrant vendors to do so.
What a publicity coup for the desperate NY State gas fracking industry to be able, with Speaker
Viverito's help, to show off thousands of new food carts cleanly powered by natural gas.
From Council Speaker Viverito's press release:
"Being the fuel provider to MOVE's cleaner, safer vehicles is an honor for Clean Energy," said Peter
Grace, Senior Vice President of Sales at Clean Energy Fuels. "Everyone is a winner with the launch of
these eco-friendly vehicles, especially New Yorkers who love their food carts." Clean Energy Fuels is
the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America. First Data and Clean
Energy Fuels are both investors in MOVE Systems.
Will New Yorkers really be winners if MOVE gets to flood the streets with thousands of
additional food carts?
Representatives of the NYC Department of Health testified at the Intro #1303 hearing that, A single
food cart cooking meat generates as much particulate pollution in one day as a semi truck driving
3,500 miles. (You can hear that testimony at approximately 39 minutes into the recording of the
hearing linked at the end of this article). Multiply that by 16,000 food carts and the it begins to look
like the health of eight million New Yorkers' will be the biggest loser from Intro #1303.
*A Useful Idiot

Providing a cover story for the deceptive efforts of Council Speaker Viverito and MOVE to privatize
all vending in NYC is Sean Basinski, founder of The Street Vendor Project (SVP). Some experienced
street vendors with firsthand exposure to his group know it by a different name (the Surveillance of
Vendors Project) and consider it a government front intended to do surveillance on immigrant vendors
from the Middle East and Latin America.
SVP claims to be NYC's main vendor advocacy organization, yet it's funded in part by the NY City
Council (every street vendor's worst enemy); Wall Street firms; JP Morgan Chase Bank (which funded
Hitler); The U.S. Dept of Justice; numerous NYC agencies, and real estate developers who are BID
(Business Improvement District) members. The BIDs wrote virtually all the anti vending ordinances
ever passed by the NY City Council.
While claiming to be a non-profit, SVP hands out numerous political donations to City
Councilmembers (see link below), lobbies for councilmembers, writes their vending legislation and
publicly campaigns for councilmembers that support it. But does SVP actually help vendors?
*Basinski's 17 years of vendor advocacy has resulted in zero gains and huge losses for vendors
*Thousands of immigrants that the NYPD were previously allowing to vend without a license under
the First Amendment lost their right to sell traditional handcrafts, hand-woven fabrics, pottery and
handmade jewelry due to a misguided lawsuit SVP sponsored, lost, and then never appealed SEE:
Mastrovincenzo v City of NY
*Another failed SVP lawsuit caused every food truck in NYC to lose the right to park at meters while
selling. SEE: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York. Patricia MONROY, Plaintiff
Appellant, v. The CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., DefendantsRespondents. Decided: May 08, 2012

*While pretending to represent street artists, Basinski has advocated for licensing First Amendment
protected artists, despite NYC law and Federal Court rulings explicitly stating that they are exempt
from any license or permit.
At the same time he's gradually and systematically destroyed the existing rights of legal vendors, he has
publicly defended the illegal sale of food from unlicensed, unhygienic carts and the sale of copyright
infringed, bootleg and trademark infringed goods on NYC streets by the members of the SVP.
Basinski has variously claimed to represent anywhere from 100 to all 20,000 vendors who work in
NYC yet his group consists of approximately 300 food and merchandise vendors, most of whom are
vending illegally. These are the vendors Councilmembers posture in front of on the steps of City Hall
while proclaiming their love for all NYC vendors and their sincere efforts to reform vending for our
Most of the City's 20,000 vendors, both legal and illegal, consider Basinski the biggest threat to
vending rather than an advocate for it. For the past three Council Speakers, the current Manhattan
Borough President, and numerous councilmembers, he has been the perfect beard to disguise their anti
vendor agenda.
*Privatizing The Vending
For more than two decades City Councilmembers and BIDs have been suggesting that privatization of
all forms of vending on NYC streets is the only solution to what they describe as a chaotic vending
system. Privatization has already taken place in the NYC Parks for all vendors, other than those
protected by the First Amendment.
Before becoming Speaker of the City Council, CM Viverito was the chair of the City Council's Parks
Committee, where she gained intimate knowledge of the Parks hundreds of vending concessions.

Virtually every vendor you see behind a food cart in NYC Parks is an immigrant employee of a food
vending corporation. According to the NY Times, most are paid less than minimum wage. Of the
thousands of food carts currently working in NYC Parks, most are owned by three vending
corporations, with the Parks Department deliberately creating a monopoly in order to make managing
them easier.
Contrary to her press release, Speaker Viverito's plan is not about creating thousands of newly licensed
independent food vendors who will realize The American Dream. It is about making all the City's
vendors subservient pawns to a corporation she's intimately connected to, with Intro # 1303-2016 as the
vehicle for accomplishing it.
*The MOVE Food Carts Are A Trojan Horse Guaranteeing That All Sidewalk Vending Spots
Will Be Privatized
If you examine the MOVE website you will see that the carts are only one part of their plan. Each cart
will be tethered to a sidewalk charging station that will be connected to the electric grid by Con Ed.
Such an infrastructure plan will cost millions to install and necessitates that the vending spots be
permanently reserved for these specific carts so that no other vendors can set up in them.
For that to happen the entire system of law governing street vending would need to dramatically
change. Since NYC was founded, it has been a first come first served system with no one owning a
vending spot on the public sidewalks.
The Viverito-MOVE agenda would require a citywide concession system where all vending spots, not
just those for food vending, are acquired by bidding against every other vendor.
EXCERPT from CRAINS editorial advocating selling off all vending spots:
"The only way to create a fair, legal market for permits is to go further with the taxi- medallion model.
That is, auction the permits."
This is the system the City Council must implement in order for the MOVE plan to function, though
neither Speaker Viverito or her co-sponsors will publicly admit it.
With the MOVE carts being the Trojan Horse that opens the doors to permanently destroying
independent vending, one corporation with the financial resources to bid for all the vending spots will
obtain a citywide franchise, exactly as Citibank did with the Citibikes and as Cemusa got for their
thousands of electronic street furniture billboards. All the presently existing independent vendors
whether they are artists, veterans, food vendors or general merchandise vendors, will be eliminated
from the streets. Speaker Viverito could be instrumental in granting such a franchise.
*But Isn't Intro #1303-2016 About Helping Poor Immigrant Vendors?
Helping immigrants become legal vendors is a positive goal which most New Yorkers, and most legal
vendors, completely support, but there is no evidence that this bill will help the oppressed vendors it
claims to be aiding. In fact, it seems likely to lead many of them to engage in the criminal activity of
leasing their food permits, a more serious crime than illegally vending.
Once privatization and bidding for vending spots begins, the food vendors Council Speaker Viverito
and The Street Vendor Projects' Basinski are pretending to be advocates for will have no chance of
outbidding a vending corporation like MOVE for a vending concession. They will instead lease their
permits out to MOVE and then continue vending illegally from their own substandard carts.

*What Is The Payoff For Viverito and the Other Councilmembers For Supporting A Bill That
The BIDs and The Entire Business Community Opposes?
During an 8 hour public hearing on 10/26/16, the councilmembers that sponsored Intro #1303 heard
unanimous opposition to the bill from city officials, the NYPD, the Health Department, all the BIDs, all
NYC community boards and from every group of vendors in the City other than the members of the
SVP. The only testimony supporting the Intro was from the sponsors of the bill and from their fake
vending advocate in SVP.
Speaker Viverito has been sitting on this proposal for years but only now that she is term limited has
she brought it up for a vote. Political insiders believe she intends to join the corporate world when her
term in the City Council ends. Is MOVE Systems going to be her next employer? Is that why she is
sponsoring a bill that the entire business community opposes?
Who exactly is the constituency that the Speaker of the City Council and her minions are trying to
It is surely not their phony vending advocate from the Street Vendor Project despite his numerous
donations to the sponsoring councilmembers. It can't be the thousands of immigrant vendors who
illegally vend food today, since this bill will eventually put most of them out of business, if not in jail.
Nor is it the thousands of street artists, disabled vets or licensed general merchandise vendors who are
now legally working, and who will be displaced by the privatization of vending.
Could it be the Wall Street and real estate billionaires behind this huge vending scam who will benefit?
The environmentally criminal fracking industry? Elected officials hungry for big campaign
contributions or for a golden parachute after they leave public office?
Give Speaker Viverito a call and then decide for yourself after you examine the evidence.
*Official City Council page on Intro # 1303-2016
*MOVE Systems
MOVE Systems board of directors and staff
*Speaker Viverito's press release announcing MOVE initiative:
OR here:
Speaker Viverito's donations from MOVE Systems and SVP
*Electrical stands installed on NYC sidewalks for the MOVE food carts:

From the MOVE website: Simply Grid's curbside electrification enables the provisioning of electricity
to mobile food vendors and idling vehicles in order to meet their energy needs.
*Food Carts Get a High End Reboot, Wall Street Journal
Food Trucks In NYC To Ditch Diesel, Go Solar In Attempt To Clean Up City's Air Pollution
*The Future Of Food Carts (From the MOVE Systems website)
*Selling off all vending spots is necessary for Intro #1303 to work:
Excerpt from CRAINS editorial:
"Some steps are obvious. The city must legitimize the market for permits. Auctioning them, as is done
with taxi medallions, would accomplish this. A protocol for locations must be created so that theres no
daily free-for-all as vendors race for the best spots, pedestrian flow is not impeded, food trucks dont
get parking tickets and brick-and-mortar establishments are not undermined."
*Detailed article about the black market in NYC food vending CRAINS:
*NY Times 9/4/03, The Six Figure Price Tag For Selling A $2 Hot Dog
(Describes how most NYC food vendors are already low wage employees of corporations)
*New York Aims for Eco-Friendly Street Food, Wall Street Journal
*Big landlord backs eco-friendly food-cart startup, CRAINS
*Basinski defends the sale of counterfeit and trademark infringed merchandise by members of The
Street Vendor Project:
Queens Courier: City Council targets 'bootleg' vendors, Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Vendors of counterfeit goods, beware. A bill introduced to the City Council recently would let the
City's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) levy higher fines and summonses to peddlers selling
bootleg DVDs, fake designer jeans, and faux bags...Industry insiders estimate that about $31 billion

was spent on counterfeit goods last year in the City, up from an estimated $23 billion in
2003...However, Sean Basinski, director of the Street Vendors Project, a non-profit dedicated to helping
the estimated 10,000 street vendors in New York City, said that the new bill could hurt financially
struggling vendors more than it helps. "Going after vendors is really going after the smallest fish in the
pond," Basinski said. "The City Council should be instead punishing the people who are making
millions off of it and not the poor people who are selling this only because they have to support their
Many street vendors can barely support themselves with their earnings, said Basinski, who guessed
vendors opted to sell counterfeit goods because they can usually fetch higher prices and better profits.
All vendors who sell counterfeit goods are unlicensed, he said.
"Even if you sell totally legitimate merchandise you are going to be arrested," Basinski said. "Vendors
think that you might as well sell what will make you money in those few hours that you have to sell
before you have to run from the police."
Intro #1303 hearing held on 10/26/16 complete. Once you start the video
you can scroll through it:

Comments or questions?
Robert Lederman
President of A.R.T.I.S.T.
(Artists' Response To Illegal State Tactics)
(201) 777-0391 (leave a message)