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Seattle Farm Boat Sunk by Seattle Bureaucracy

Dave Petrich

Since 2010, Captain Dave Petrich has operated the Farm Boat, a small floating organic farmer’s market, in Seattle’s iconic South Lake Union district.

The Farm Boat is operated on the historically-significant Virginia V and small floating wood boats using an ‘honor box’ system.

Dave said, “Customers really love what we’re doing. We’re bringing in small organic farmers – the types of people that aren’t typically available in big strip malls. At the same time, we try to educate people about what used to be in Seattle.”

Farm Boat Seattle South Lake UnionDave’s dreams came to a screeching halt earlier this year, when he found out that the City of Seattle was attempting to collect over $8,000 in parking tickets from him.

“The City of Seattle is coming after me for $8,000 in parking ticket debt that I don’t owe,” he said.

In some cases, government can pursue an employer for money owed by an employee. It is that legal theory that Seattle is using to pursue Dave. The problem is that the person who allegedly racked up the parking tickets was never a Farm Boat employee. According to Dave, “The only connection that I have with the person who owes this money is that he posted on our Facebook page.”

Because of the City’s legal maneuvering, the Farm Boat has been forced to shut down. Petrich said, “We can’t take loans, we can’t take donations, we can’t operate like any other business, or organization.”

Dave has dedicated most of this year to dealing with the City’s debt collectors. He wants the City to release the legal threats that have sunk his business. He’s spent hundreds of hours and made hundreds of phone calls in an attempt to clear his business – so far unsuccessfully.

Sadly, Dave is fighting city hall on his own, and he’s finding that correcting the bureaucratic machine takes more resources than he currently has available. That’s why the Freedom Foundation is helping him get the word out and exposing the City’s unreasonable debt collection practices.

Dave is asking for help, not just for himself but for all small businesses in the City, as well: “What they need is a policy that helps unwind these types of cases for small businesses that don’t have deep pockets for legal defenses. What people can do is call the Mayor’s office and tell them you want Farm Boat back. Tell them you want them to create policies that don’t harm small organizations like us. They should be able to unwind these kinds of false accusations quickly without creating damages.”

Dave reflected, “It’s not right for the government to come after me to pay someone elses debt that I had nothing to do with.”

You can help Dave by calling or writing to Mayor McGinn in Seattle.

For more information about the Farm Boat under seige from the City of Seattle, here is their website:


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