NEWS

Store owners and businesses sue state authorities

Giorgos Malahias, owner of a cell phone store on Tritis Septemvriou Street in downtown Athens, sued the state on September 2. His suit named the police administration, the drug squad, the chief of the local police station as well as the hygiene and municipal authorities, he explained, because he believes they have not acted appropriately to deal with the acute problem of drug dealing and crime in the area where his store is located. «The entire area is full of drug users and the authorities do not fulfill their role, resulting in my business declining and me hurting financially. My customers avoid coming to the store, knowing the situation here. Yet the state demands I pay taxes and social insurance and VAT. While I have to meet my obligations, the state does not act likewise with its obligations,» said Malahias. He’s not the only one. «Hundreds of members of our association are ready to take legal action tomorrow because they can’t put up with the situation anymore,» said Dimitris Nikolopoulos, coordinator of Citizens Movement, who will appear as a witness. Damage While Malahias’s action may seem like an individual response to a build-up of indignation, sources say that large businesses in the city center that have suffered major economic losses due to crime and the deterioration of the area are also planning to sue state authorities for financial compensation. They will produce evidence that crime is responsible for lost income. According to the Research Institute for Tourism’s Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, hotels affected by the decline of the city center earn some 48 percent less than those located outside the center.