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City Summonses 101 — Cornegy Brings New Legal Outreach Initiative to Bed-Stuy

The event will provide Brooklynites with resources to check if they have outstanding summonses and to learn how to respond to them
Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr. Photo credit: NYC City Council/ Flickr

Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr. is partnering with the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings to launch the "OATH Resource" initiative, which aims to inform Brooklynites about City processes regarding summonses and violations, and how to respond to them. 

"For many New Yorkers, receiving a City summons and having to figure out how to interact with City government to address it can be daunting," said Cornegy. "That's why I'm pleased to again partner with Commissioner Del Valle and the team at OATH to bring valuable information and resources about addressing City-issued summonses to the constituents of my district."

OATH, the City's independent administrative law court where nearly every agency files summonses for hearings, will dispatch staff to Bedford Stuyvesant's Macon Library on Wednesday, May 1, to answer questions residents may have regarding summonses from agencies like the Sanitation Department, Health Department, Buildings Department, Fire Department and NYPD, among others. 

Staff on site will be able to check if someone has an outstanding summons; check the status of summonses; help residents understand the rules about how a summons can and should be responded to; help submit online defenses to summonses that are eligible to be responded to remotely; help reschedule upcoming hearings or request new hearings if summonses were previously ignored; and explain what may be required after a hearing has been held.  

Bilingual OATH staff will on site to help residents in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

"OATH Resource is a brand new initiative meant to bring government to where people work and live," said OATH Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs Marisa Senigo. "The initiative provides New York City's small businesses and residents with a convenient place to go in their local neighborhood to get the information they need to handle summonses correctly and to find out if they have any unresolved summonses that have been issued to them, their property or their business."  

OATH offers recipients of summonses convenient hearings options online, via phone, by webcam and even mail. Additionally, OATH has help centers at all hearing locations throughout the city where self-represented respondents can get help understanding what a summons is charging them with and the possible penalties associated with the summons; the OATH hearing process; or get help accessing information or records that they believe will help their case. The office also offers free translation services for all hearings as well as for all document and form submissions.

"Knowledge is power and the first step to fighting City summonses is understanding the process and what to do if and when a summons is received," said Senigo.

This is not the first collaboration between Cornegy and OATH. Last year, the councilmember hosted an OATH Pop-Up Court, where constituents were able to schedule hearings with OATH judges right in his district office at Restoration Plaza. Cornegy urges his constituents to also make use of this new program.

"I hope everyone stops by the Macon Library next Wednesday to take advantage of this great event," he said.

The "OATH Resource" initiative will take place on Wednesday, May 1, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, at BPL's Macon Branch, 361 Lewis Avenue.