Modern-Day David and Goliath: Hot Dog Vendor Battles St. John's - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Modern-Day David and Goliath: Hot Dog Vendor Battles St. John's Hospital

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St. John's hospital is known as a place of caring and compassion, unless you're a hot dog vendor named Perry.

"If I set up there again, I've been threatened with having my license pulled," said Perry Stafford.

For over a year Perry Dogs were available just underneath the air bridge right outside St. John's, with a steady base of customers.

"The nurses, the staff, they come out, there's doctors that come out," he said.

Until one day, he says, when someone came out from the cafeteria department.

"The lady that visited with me said that you're taking money from the hospital," he said.

And that was just the beginning. A letter soon followed from the hospital's law firm requesting that he "...discontinue setting up the vendor cart..."

When News Channel 8 contacted the hospital they declined an interview but said, "The sidewalks, walkways and streets within and surrounding the St. John Medical Center campus were designed to be used for pedestrian mobility... St. John Health System and the City of Tulsa do not authorize use of these areas for any vendor or individual's private commercial activity."

But when Perry went inquiring at city hall...

"Went to the city, licensing, city engineers, and they said, 'No this is the city right of way you should be legal where you're at,'"he said. 

But then came a letter from the city attorney's office, not saying he shouldn't be on the sidewalk, but that if he was operating too close to a hospital entrance, he could face "...the possibility of suspending or revoking your license."

"The door that I'm close to is a fire egress," said Stafford.

With all the legal mumbo jumbo being layered on thicker than all the toppings, he backed off last weekend, much to the chagrin of St. John's regulars calling him up.

"Where are you? We're looking for you, have you moved?" he said.

Yes, he has, to the intersection of 'Had Enough' and 'Legal Representation.'

"I'm going to seek counsel. Are you really, you're going to hire a lawyer? Yes. This is getting crazy. It is." he said.