Drug dealing claims at NYC Burger King spark multi-million dollar legal feud

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A back-and-forth multi-million dollar legal battle is raging over who is to blame for an area in New York City’s Financial District turning into a hotbed for drug dealing and miscreants plaguing local residents. 

A local resident has sued the franchisee of a local Burger King, claiming he has let his 106 Fulton St. eatery devolve into an “open-air drug bazaar” where crews of drug dealers use the location “as a base of operation” to sell illegal drugs in and around the restaurant, according to a $15 million lawsuit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

The resident, Kevin Kaufman, claims that franchisee owner Lalmir Sultanzada allows the illicit peddling to take place and hasn’t hired security to deter the unlawful activity, thus attracting emotionally disturbed people to the neighborhood who terrorize locals and destroy their quality of life.

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“These professional drug dealers, who have long criminal records and are well known among local law enforcement, operate in broad daylight from hours before the Burger King opens until hours after the Burger King closes, so openly that it is impossible for [Burger King and the franchisee owner] to be unaware of this neighborhood nightmare,” the March 5 suit states.

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“Fulton Street is now a neighborhood in crisis,” the suit reads, with Kaufman claiming he has suffered “extreme emotional distress as a direct result of defendants’ dangerous, illegal, unethical, and outrageous activity.”

The suit argues that condos on Fulton Street have plummeted as a direct result of Sultanzada’s “outrageous and unethical tolerance of drug activity.”

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Kaufman, who is the vice-chairman of the Fulton Street Coalition, a non-profit that “addresses the neighborhood’s safety, welfare, and quality of life,” claims that neighbors are afraid to go out at night because Sultanzada has turned a blind eye to the problem and refuses to hire private security.

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News of the lawsuit even attracted the attention of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who visited the eatery after the New York Post broke the story in March. Adams’ office tells Fox News Digital that the mayor met with homeless people — and not drug dealers — inside the Burger King where he “connected them to services.” 

Adams’ office is about six blocks away from the fast food joint.

But Sultanzada fired back at Kaufman in a $30 million countersuit last month, blaming Kaufman for the state of the neighborhood given he belongs to a non-profit whose very mission is to uphold safety and quality of life in the area.

The countersuit argues that Burger King’s responsibilities “are limited to providing restaurant services to patrons and [it has] no obligation whatsoever to provide law enforcement services and/or ensure the safety, welfare and quality of life of the neighborhood.” 

The suit also claims Kaufman is after a quick payday and that his reference to the eatery as an “open air drug bazaar” that is “terrorizing his neighborhood,” is racially charged given Sultanzada is an Afghan immigrant

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The countersuit also highlights an interview Kaufman did with the New York Post where he blames rampant drug dealing on the criminal laws and policies of New York City.

“Defendants have absolutely no authority or control over such criminal laws and policies and the only possible action Burger King can take is to call the police, which it has done on many occasions,” the countersuit reads.

Fox Business requested comment from Burger King but did not receive a response prior to publication. 

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