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Tahou's owner objects to I.D. badge law

Alex Tahou, owner of Nick Tahou's, is expressing frustration with the City of Rochester after some of his employees were ticketed at the Lilac Festival (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - The man who owns "The Home of the Garbage Plate" said he has lost his appetite for the City of Rochester after he was issued tickets at the Lilac Festival.

Alex Tahou said those tickets - which he now has on display for customers - were issued to his workers because they were not wearing photo ID badges.

The tickets were issued in accordance with a one-year-old city code applying to food truck and trailer operators. 13WHAM was not told how much the fines were, but some vendors we spoke with said they did not know about the badge stipulation.

Tahou said five of his employees were ticketed. He calls the law unfair, and argues it is costly and requires background checks.

"I refuse to (pay) it," said Tahou. "This will probably be the last festival I'll ever do in the City of Rochester."

The city said Tuesday was the first day of enforcement at the Lilac Festival.

"This is part of our city code," said City of Rochester spokesperson James Smith. "And it is, unfortunately, one that when our police officers or other officers, when out, have to enforce it - and they don't have an option. We are doing it in a fair way and across the board."

Smith also suggests that vendors who have strong opinions against the policy take up the matter with Rochester City Council.

Tahou said providing badges for all of his employees could cost more than $1,200, as well as a $25 application fee. He said this incident could signal an end to Garbage Plates in the City of Rochester.

"Who wants to be in the business in this city when this is the way they treat people?" asked Tahou. "I've had it. I'm 63-years-old; I can retire and I don't need to put up with this treatment."

"We've had many people interested in buying the building - some oil companies," Tahou added. "I may open the door to them and say, 'Get the heck out of here,' totally!"

The city said all other food truck operators were in compliance with the code Tuesday morning,.

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