Press Release

March 20: Chinatown Small Property Owners to Protest Thousands in Illegal “BID” Fees Charged by Department of Finance



On March 20, 2012, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Property Tax Payers’ Association, and small property owners in Chinatown will hold a press conference to protest the illegal and excessive fees that the New York City Department of Finance has charged small property owners in Chinatown.

Last year, the City Council voted to require property owners in Chinatown to pay additional fees by creating a Business Improvement District (BID), despite vigorous protests from property owners that the BID fees would put them out of business and lead to increased gentrification of their community.

Now that the Chinatown BID is in place, the Department of Finance has charged the same property owners fees for being within BID boundaries for months before the BID even existed. Property owners were charged fees on their property tax statements for the full fiscal year of 2011-2012, even though the Chinatown BID did not exist until January 31, 2012.

“Chinatown property owners should not be retroactively charged a period of time for an entity that did not even exist until just a month and a half ago. The Department of Finance must take immediate corrective action,” said Bethany Li of AALDEF, which is representing the Property Tax Payers Association, a group formed to protect the rights of small property owners in Chinatown.

“Hundreds of property owners objected to the BID and now the City is charging us for something we didn’t want, for a period before the BID even existed.” said Jan Lee, a property owner in Chinatown.

AALDEF is prepared to file a lawsuit if the Department of Finance does not correct the unlawful assessment for the Chinatown BID.



Press Conference by AALDEF and the Property Tax Payers’ Association Calling for the NYC Department of Finance to Adjust Illegal Fees


  • Bethany Li, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Jan Lee, Chinatown property owner
  • Dean Fong, Chinatown property owner

Time: 11 am, Tuesday, March 20

Location: 19 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013

Please RSVP to Ujala Sehgal at 212-966-5932 ext. 217 or


Bethany Li
Staff Attorney, AALDEF
212.966.5932 ext. 213

Ujala Sehgal
Communications Coordinator, AALDEF
212.966.5932 ext. 217

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.