A letter warning vendors of the Alameda Swap Meet that they would be fined if they failed to remain open the day of the Northridge earthquake has been called an error by the management company after a meeting with the head of the Korean Vendors Assn.
The management company called the Jan. 17 letter an unfortunate “mistake,” said Charles Yang, general manager of the swap meet at 4501 S. Alameda St. “The fee has been waived. They (vendors) came to my office this morning (Jan. 21) and everything has been straightened out.”
Jacob Yo, the head of the vendors association, agreed with Yang’s assessment. The letter, Yo said, created some disharmony between vendors and the management company, but the company has apologized.
“There is no longer a problem here,” Yo said.
The problem began after some of the 100-or-so vendors closed early or didn’t open for business the day of the quake. When they returned to their stalls two days later at the undamaged buildings, they discovered they were in violation of their contracts.
“I didn’t expect this, would you?” said one vendor, who didn’t want to be identified, after receiving a tersely worded letter warning of a $25 fine for failing to remain open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
“Everybody was closing. Everybody was scared of the earthquake.”
“This is strictly unfair, because the media told us to stay home,” said another who didn’t want to be identified.
“I didn’t know how many people were hurt.”
Some were unable to open the day of the quake because of family problems the 6.6 temblor created. “My children were with my mother and I had to go get them,” said one vendor.
Vendors said their concern wasn’t rooted in the amount of the fine, but in the lack of cooperation displayed by the management company.
Some said they haven’t received a formal notice telling them not to pay it.