New York state’s Department of Health apologized Sunday to a seven-year-old boy after a woman who was wearing a uniform identifying herself as an inspector shut down his lemonade stand.
Brendan Mulvaney said he was “really mad” on Friday when a woman wearing a green health department shirt told his parents he couldn’t sell 75-cent lemonade without a permit. If he did, she told his parents, they would be fined.
“She didn’t introduce herself, she didn’t leave a card,” Brendan’s father told the Times-Union. “She asked if we had a permit and I said ‘no’ and she told us we couldn’t do it. Then she started taking pictures. She was rude.”
Spokeswoman Jill Montag says the department does not inspect children’s lemonade stands.
“While we work to confirm the inspection was performed by DOH staff and the surrounding circumstances, we offer Brendan an apology for any inconvenience,” Montag said. “We are working to better understand the situation but in the meantime want to assure the community that DOH does not issue permits for or oversee lemonade stands.”
The family’s home in Ballston Spa is near the Saratoga County Fairgrounds and the county fair was winding down by the time the apology arrived. But Brendan is reopening during the fairgrounds’ garage sale on Aug. 18.
State Senator Jim Tedisco, a local Republican, visited Brendan’s shuttered business and vowed to fight on his behalf.
“When I was a kid, state bureaucrats didn’t go around shutting down lemonade stands and threatening children and families with fines,” Tedisco said in a statement. “These kids are trying to give people sweet lemonade and learn some important business skills but the overzealous state bureaucrats in the administration just keep giving taxpayers lemons.”
Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive who is the presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate, tweeted that the Department of Health employee “could have benefited from a little sweet lemonade.”