Queens councilwoman, OATH commissioner talk summonses with Flushing small business owners

Councilwoman Sandra Ung and Commissioner Asim Rehman with Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings representatives outside the Flushing Library (Photo courtesy of Sandra Ung’s office)

Councilwoman Sandra Ung and Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) Commissioner Asim Rehman walked around downtown Flushing Wednesday, June 17, to discuss city-issued summonses and how they should be handled with small business owners in the area.

Ung and Rehman discussed the role of OATH, the city’s independent administrative law court, and how property and small business owners can fight city-issued summonses.

Councilwoman Ung and OATH Commissioner Asim Rehman met with Maxi Lau, owner of Maxi’s Noodles on 38th Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Ung’s office)

For more than 40 years, OATH has operated as New York City’s central, independent tribunal, ensuring that those seeking their assistance receive a fair opportunity to be heard and a timely resolution of their cases. Its hearings division is responsible for conducting hearings on summonses issued by 25 different city enforcement agencies for alleged violations of law or city rules.

“Our mission at OATH is to ensure that everyone who appears before us receives a fair and impartial hearing and a timely decision,” Rehman said. “For the great borough of Queens, that includes making sure that we are accessible to individuals and small business, that we provide multilingual services, and that we have an office right here in the borough.”

Councilwoman Ung and OATH Commissioner Asim Rehman visit Timothy Chuang, owner of Tong Ren Tang on Main Street. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Ung’s office)

“I want to thank Commissioner Rehman for visiting business owners in my district to discuss the important work of OATH,” Ung said. “With oversight by so many different city agencies, it can be difficult for any small business owner to navigate the process to resolve or dispute a summons. In a neighborhood like Flushing with so many immigrant-owned businesses, that process can be especially confusing.”

In addition to the hearings division, OATH also has a trials division and special education hearings division. In the trials division, the organization’s administrative law judges are responsible for managing caseloads like employee discipline and disability hearings for civil servants, Conflicts of Interest Board and Human Rights Commissioner cases and proceedings related to the retention of seized vehicles by the police.

The special education hearings division provides due process hearings for parents seeking to challenge Department of Education (DOE) decisions relating to the adequacy of the special education services offered to their child or to parents seeking tuition reimbursement for the costs of a private education that provides their child with necessary services. OATH’s center for creative conflict resolution also provides both the public and city agencies with training, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution services.

Rehman’s visit to downtown Flushing coincided with a tabling event hosted by OATH in front of the Flushing Library. During the event, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., agency representatives on hand answered questions from residents and business owners about their summonses and how best to proceed.