If you were in New York yesterday, you would have seen more than 40 ice-cream trucks being towed away. It was a crackdown on New York Ice Cream which allegedly has been running a scheme to avoid millions in tickets. The culprit was ice cream mogul Dimitrios Tsirkos, founder of New York Ice Cream. Long Island officials say that Tsirkos has been racking of millions in tickets and then creating new companies to avoid payment.
Each of 46 trucks seized had over $10,000 in unpaid tickets — part of a total of $4.5 million owed by the company. Tsirkos has a total of 76 delinquent treat-mobiles tickets for such violations as speeding, running red lights and illegally using bus lanes.
Also named were Athanasios Fotinakopoulos, Hele “Eleni” Fotinakopoulos, Tommy Dalageorgos, Michael A. Vasiadis and Antonio Tsatsaros who allegedly played roles in creating as many as 100 phony companies.
I am a little curious why, if the trucks are owned by the same people, the police did not seize all 76 trucks given the millions owed to the city. There is certainly no sympathy warranted for these individuals, though the drivers are victims in this instance.
This is a civil lawsuit but I am confused why Tsirkos is not facing a multi-count criminal case. If you can get away with such a premeditated and organized fraud, there is little deterrent for other companies.
Tsirkos previously was sued after he broke from his franchise with Mister Softee and then recreated “Master Softee” with the same type of branding. He was forced into a settlement.
He then turned around to create his New York Ice Cream business and allegedly ran it through fraudulent sham companies. What is truly insidious is that the city alleges that the company told drivers that it was paying the tickets and garnished their wages. So it was allegedly pocketing the ticket fines while evading payment with the city.
If true, the failure to criminally charge Tsirkos would be an insult to every law-bidding and honest business in Long Island.