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Long Beach : Painting Bills Called Bogus

August 07, 1986

Police are advising residents not to pay bills sent out by a curb-painting service that, according to police, is operating illegally in the city.

Police said they have received at least 600 calls from residents inquiring about bills sent out by City Curb Service, a Long Beach firm that is painting house numbers on curbs throughout the city.

The firm's bills advise residents to please pay a "very minimal" curb-painting fee of $4.79 "immediately." The bills, however, do not tell residents that under municipal law, payment of the $4.79 fee is voluntary.

"We advised them (residents) not to pay the notices," Detective Jeff Johnson said. "Although they (the notices) look very official they are not endorsed by the city and there is no responsibility to pay them."

Last month, the firm obtained a permit for $125 to paint house numbers on curbs west of Long Beach Boulevard. On Tuesday, however, the permit was revoked because the firm's workers were painting curbs in other areas of town and because the firm was not advising residents that payment of the fee is voluntary.

The firm's owner was cited Tuesday for not following city regulations for painting curbs, a misdemeanor, Johnson said. The detective declined to identify the owner, saying he feared that the owner might be the target of vigilante-type reprisals. An investigation is pending, Johnson said.

Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment.

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