Ricatto’s Trump signs were stolen at night.  But his surveillance camera captured a grainy picture of the man who took one of them.  In an attempt to find the thief, Ricatto put up flyers on trees in his neighborhood offering a $5,000 reward. He used staples to fasten the paper signs to trees.

According to Ricatto, it wasn’t until weeks later that someone from the Parks Department visited Ricatto at his home to hit him with 22 summonses.  Those summonses come to a total of $1,600.  To make matters worse, the Parks Department wanted to levy an additional $41,000 in fines against Ricatto.  But thankfully for him, the officer assigned to the case felt it was way too much money.

Ricatto says it is all about politics.  He points out that if the Parks Department was interested in handing out fines for stapling signs to trees they could fine themselves for wrongdoing.  Ricatto points out that when the Parks Department is scheduled to prune, they staple signs to the trees warning motorists not to park in front of them.

The Parks Department issued a statement that says, “Damaging trees is against parks rules. Destroying a tree’s protective layers, bark and inner skin, have harmful, long term effects, including death.”

But an internal memo from the Parks Department’s own lawyer says differently, “Our office was told many years ago, that staples do not cause harm to city trees, to the extent that we can seek monetary restitution as they do not penetrate deep enough to cause damage.”

Ricatto paid the $1,600 because it would have cost much more to fight.

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