NY man begins building off-ramp from highway directly to business

A business owner in New York is building an off-ramp directly to his business in apparent retaliation for previous fines imposed by the state.

According to UPI, Eric White, owner of the Big Indian Smoke Shop on the Cattaraugus Reservation, seems to be building the ramp after a judge ordered him to pay $2.4 million in fines for selling untaxed cigarettes from his shop in 2012. White says he was not required to pay taxes on the tobacco products because they were native brands and were transported from one reservation to another.

White was recently seen leading crews to construct the ramp on the New York State Thruway.

White’s attorney, Paul Cambria, says he plans to appeal the judge’s decision about the fines, and says White is not breaking any laws by building the ramp. A spokesman from the Federal Highway Administration said construction of ramps usually need the agency’s approval, but because the ramp is on tribal land, there may be different rules.

“Mr. White believes there is no valid easement that the Thruway has over sovereign territory,” Cambria said.