By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia business owner is fighting back. She claims the city is unfairly ticketing her for trash.

Philadelphia has a unique history and relationship with trash, but the business owner says she’s been ticketed for the last 15 years for a trash problem she says doesn’t exist.

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“When I bought the building and took over the building, I inherited this ticket issue,” Bridgette Mayer, owner of Bridgette Mayer Gallery, said.

And it’s an issue that’s been going on now for 15 years.

Mayer is the owner of Bridgette Mayer Gallery at 7th and Walnut Streets. She says since 2007 she’s received a countless number of trash tickets.

“I got them every week for about two years,” she said.

Eyewitness News cameras did not spot any trash outside of Mayer’s building Wednesday. There’s also no trash in a photo she sent to CBS3. The timestamp is 9:25 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2021 — the exact time she was written a $50 ticket.

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“It’s a revenue builder for them, but ticket people when there’s actually trash and leave the neighborhood alone when there isn’t trash,” Mayer said. “It’s really not fair and it’s illegal.”

Mayer says she’s being targeted and hired a lawyer. Several stores Eyewitness News went into on the same block Wednesday had similar stories, including the Pennsylvania Bible Society but they refused to pay.

“They absolutely should not be paying the fines,” Kathleen McAvoy with the Pennsylvania Bible Society said. “If it’s not their trash and they haven’t done anything wrong, stand up and fight. Fight for your neighborhood. Fight for yourself.”

Eyewitness News spoke with Councilmember Mark Squilla’s office, who said a business owner can fight these tickets if identifying information isn’t found in the trash. They also said a business owner should be prepared with documentation that there was no trash when the ticket was written.

Mayer, who giggles through her frustration, says she sent the city surveillance photos, but the tickets keep coming.

“If there’s literally no garbage or trash and I’m being asked to pay a fine, then no and it makes me feel very angry,” Mayer said.

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Eyewitness News did reach out to the Streets Department but haven’t heard back.