"Crazy" Bernie Siomiak holds up his $5,000 administrative citation in a photo posted to his Facebook page last year.
Written by Frank Lopez and Gabriel Dillard
The Crazy Bernie furniture store in Fresno has received a $5,000 citation from the city for operating as a non-essential business.
Storeowner Bernie Siomiak — known for his eccentric television commercials — shared the information on his Facebook page Wednesday.
Siomiak wrote on the Facebook post that he is being “cited again” after he made statements for non-essential businesses to re-open at Councilmember’s Garry Bredefeld press conference on Tuesday.
“Told it was unlawful to operate my website and to cease immediately,” Siomiak wrote on the Facebook post that went up today. “I have tried to reach the lady who is in charge at the city but so far no luck. I wonder how many fines they are handing out for doing the safest form of business there is.”
According to a statement from the city, he was issued a warning notice on March 31, a $1,000 citation April 23 and a $5,000 citation Wednesday after the city received complaints about the continued operation of his store and advertisements of his store website for pick-up sales, which are not allowed at this time.
City code enforcement officers have issued notices to 28 furniture stores for continuing to operate, with two of those stores — A Better Bed and Furniture For You — issued $1,000 citations, according to the statement.
“One of our Code Enforcement managers spoke with Bernie this afternoon and explained that he cannot continue to do curbside pickups which is what led to today’s citation,” according to the statement from the city. “He stated he understood and would discontinue to avoid further citations. The manager also explained how to appeal the citation.”
City officials also said Siomiak wasn’t being targeted for speaking out publicly against the essential business guidelines.
“The fine was in response to repeated violations, not because he took part in a press conference,” according to the statement.
Crazy Bernie announced it would be holding a going-out-of-business sale just before non-essential businesses were locked down as part of precautions against the coronavirus.
Somiak wrote in a reply to a comment on his original post, “ You can order from any of the 25o furniture stores online. I think I’m being singled out because I spoke up.”