A Staten Island woman whose license plate was stolen from her car says she’s now being victimized by the City of New York--which is demanding she pay for two no-license-plate tickets slapped on her parked car.
“My social security check is $900 a month. They want $250. That’s almost a third of my check. Are you kidding? For something I didn’t even do? I need help,” Christine DeLisa sad. “I’m not guilty. I’m a victim.”
The 69-year-old’s trouble began in February 2016 when she found a traffic enforcement ticket on her car for no license plate. However she says it had been stolen. Unsure of what to do, she immediately called her NYPD precinct.
She said police gave her instructions on how to handle the situation until a police report was completed.
“They said leave the ticket in the window with the orange envelope and put a note in the window stating you contacted us."
But the very next day, despite leaving the note and the ticket, her car was hit with another no-license-plate citation from a traffic enforcement agent. Again, she called the precinct.
“They laughed and they said, ‘We know who gave you the tickets and that’s the way they operate.’ They said don’t worry about it, you’ll win the appeal.”
But DeLisa said she never had a prayer. At her initial Finance Department hearing, where these tickets are handled, she was found guilty of both violations. Among the reasons cited: waiting to prepare a police report and get a new license plate.
“I did what I was told to do by law and yet, I’m wrong. Why? I’m not wrong. I’m 100 percent right,” she said.
The NYPD had no comment on DeLisa’s case, including the advice she says she received from her precinct.
A spokesman did note the law requires vehicles to be removed immediately from the street when a license plate is stolen.
When her appeals failed, Staten Island Councilman Steven Matteo tried to help, writing a letter to the commissioner of the Finance Department.
“[DeLisa] believes she should not be held liable for these violations and associated penalties,” Matteo wrote.
“Additionally, the constituent finds she is unable to afford neither the violations nor the associated penalties.”
The Finance Department, however, was unmoved – and sent her case to a collection agency.
When contacted by NBC 4 New York, the department said it would put DeLisa on a payment plan.