Owners of a Chinatown property dubbed the "Counterfeit Triangle" will pay the city a settlement of $800,000 for housing shops that sold fake purses, watches and jewelry, purportedly made by Fendi, Rolex, Tiffany and more. From now on the three-cornered area with addresses on Canal Street, Baxter Street, Centre Street and Walker Street will be home to only legitimate businesses (Starbucks offered one seller $12,000 a month for his corner storefront). "Property owners should know that they are responsible for what goes on in their buildings and that hosting illegal activity like counterfeiting is a losing proposition," said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement.
A chief adviser, John Feinblatt, added that "Selling counterfeit goods is a form of organized crime—it is built on forced sweatshop labor, often done by children—and frequently accompanied by violent turf wars." Since 2003 the city has busted some 32 counterfeit goods sellers, seizing $52 million in knock-offs and collecting about $3 million in fines from building owners.
In January one watch seller in the triangle predicted the shut-down. “It was a nice hustle while it lasted," he wistfully recalled.