A lawsuit has been filed against the New York City Transit Authority, alleging the agency is enforcing judgments against riders for decades-old infractions and then seizing their tax refunds without their knowledge.
"The MTA is acting as cop, prosecutor, judge, jury, and debt collector all at once. They're issuing these tickets, they're enforcing these judgements, they go after people for money, but they're not telling people what they're about," said Susan Shin of the New Economy Project, one of four organizations that brought the lawsuit arguing violations of due process.
David Evans, a plaintiff in the case, said his tax refunds were seized for violations more than a decade old despite no records of tickets. He said his state tax returns have been deducted for years, and that he owes more than $1,900 at this time, but that sum was previously over $2,700 for tickets going back 20 years.
Katharine Deabler-Meadows of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice said the New Economy Project heard complaints from people that their tax refunds were also seized. According to Deabler-Meadows, those people weren't given any information and were told they had to pay $10 per document to see the MTA's limited records.
She said the tickets are for, at most, a few hundred dollars but negatively impact low-income New Yorkers.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the New York City Transit Authority said the MTA would not comment on pending litigation.