Planning Board Okays McDonald’s Rebuild Project

Planning Board Okays McDonald’s Rebuild Project

The golden arches on Revere Beach Parkway are going to shine a little brighter.

Tuesday night, the Planning Board approved a special permit allowing for the demolition and rebuild of the McDonald’s at 170 Revere Beach Parkway.

The updated fast food restaurant will be larger than the current building and will feature a double drive-through lane, according to project engineer William Lucas. There will also be fewer parking spots and more green space on the property.

“McDonald’s is going through a nationwide rebranding program at all its restaurants,” said Lucas.

In many locations, that means major renovations. But in Chelsea, Lucas said the demolition and rebuild of the restaurant will help improve accessibility inside and outside the restaurant.

“This will bring the restaurant into compliance and improve operations,” he said. “They are implementing a side-by-side drive-through instead of the single file line.”

The current drive-through lane is parallel to Washington Avenue, while the new window will face Revere Beach Parkway. The size of the building itself is slated to increase from 3,500 to 4,400 square feet, and the number of parking spaces will decrease from 65 to 32.

Planning Board Chairman Tuck Willis asked how long the demolition and rebuild will take once work gets underway.

“Generally, it gets done in less than 60 days,” said Lucas.

Board member Todd Taylor said he did have some concerns about the project if the construction affects Washington Avenue.

“The traffic there is such a bad problem,” said Taylor. “That is the main way out of Prattville, and in the mornings, there is a huge backup and people cannot get out of the neighborhood.”

Other than the McDonald’s vote, it was a fairly low-key evening for the Planning Board, as it approved special permits to convert several single-family homes to multi-family units.

The massive, 630-unit Forbes Street project was continued to the board’s Nov. 27 meeting.

The most excitement during the meeting came during a thunderstorm, when several board members were startled during an especially close and loud boomer.

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Hearing Continued for Rincon Latino Restaurant

Hearing Continued for Rincon Latino Restaurant

It’s the case of the cases of Corona going in and out of Rincon Latino Restaurant.

Following a histrionic licensing commission hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 25 that saw the lawyer for the restaurant’s owners compare the proceedings to those in Russia and referred to the hearing to “a lynching,” the commission continued the hearing until its next meeting next month.

As the last hearing on a busy commission agenda, everything started calmly enough, as the commission heard a police report from officer Augustus Cassuci detailing two incidents he witnessed just outside the Washington Avenue Restaurant on June 22 and 23.

The officer stated that on Friday, June 22, he was passing by 373 Washington Avenue when he saw about 10 people crossing the street, with one carrying a case of Corona beer. The next day, Cassuci said he saw a customer carrying a case of Corona into the restaurant.

Where the hearing raised the ire of attorney John Dodge, who was representing the restaurant, was when Cassuci raised a number of issues at Rincon Latino Restaurant that were not included in the two-paragraph police report.

“On several occasions, there have appeared to be intoxicated patrons in front of the laundromat next door blocking the sidewalk,” said the officer. “Male parties have also been seen urinating on the sidewalk.”

Additionally, police Captain Keith Houghton said the restaurant often appears to surpass its occupancy limit of 17 customers and the curtains of the establishment have been closed, in violation of the law.

Police officials also showed the commission a photo taken from the restaurant’s security camera that they said showed the establishment as being over capacity.

“How am I supposed to represent (the restaurant) when all I have is a two-paragraph police report?” asked Dodge, who asked that the hearing be continued to the commission’s next meeting since evidence was introduced that he had not previously seen.

Dodge said the allegations leveled by the police had nothing to do with the original report of customers taking out or bringing in cases of beer.

“I don’t know what evidence is being presented,” he said. “We were not provided with any photos or any video, and Officer Cassuci is now testifying to public intoxication, urinating on the sidewalks, and closed curtains.”

Licensing Commission Chairman James Guido said a public hearing does not follow the same process as a court hearing and that the information being provided during the hearing was due process.

“Maybe due process in Russia, in America we are given the evidence before a hearing,” said Dodge.

Commission member Roseann Bongiovanni asked for calm, and suggested the commission continue the hearing for one month. The commission approved the continuance, as well as a request that the restaurant provide video of peak hours during the past several weekends to help determine if there has been overcrowding or other issues at the restaurant.

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Licensing Board Approves Permits for Function Hall at Old Polish American

Licensing Board Approves Permits for Function Hall at Old Polish American

A new function hall is slated to open at the site of the former Polish American Veterans Hall at 35 Fourth Street.

At its most recent meeting, the licensing commission approved restaurant and entertainment licenses for the proposed hall.

The applicant, Emiliana Fiesta, LLC, also applied for a wine and beer license, but will have to wait until there is an available license in the city. However, one-day liquor licenses can be granted for the weddings, birthday parties, and other functions planned for the facility.

The Polish American hall had a capacity of over 500 occupants for the two floors of the building. But based on concerns voiced by police officials, the licensing commission approved the restaurant license with a capacity of 250 occupants, limiting the functions to one level of the building, while the basement level can only be used for storage and kitchen purposes. The owners will also install licenses at all entrances on both floors of the building.

Even with the limitations on use, police Captain Keith Houghton said he was wary that the use of the building could tip from being a function hall to operating as a full-blown night club.

“This is going to be a challenge,” said Houghton, who also requested that the opaque outside of the building be replaced with clear windows and that a floor plan be provided to police and the licensing committee.

Broadway resident Paul Goodhue said he also had concerns about the proposal.

“I’ve watched the police clean up that corner of Fourth and Broadway,” he said. “You’re going to be opening up a can of worms if that ends up being a nightclub.”

Commission member Roseann Bongiovanni said she understood the concerns of the police and neighbors.

“We do not want this to turn into a nightclub, that’s not an appropriate function,” she said.

But with the proper conditions in place, Bongiovanni said the new owners of the building should have the chance to give the function hall a go.

“They bought (the building) with the same use,” Bongiovanni said. “I feel like we should give them a shot.”

Licensing Commission Chairman James Guido also stipulated that live bands can perform during functions only and that for functions of over 100 people, a police detail should be requested.

The approved hours for the function hall are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.

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Police Searching for Man Who Allegedly Slashed Waitress Monday

Police Searching for Man Who Allegedly Slashed Waitress Monday

Chelsea Police have identified a man of interest in the case of a female waitress who was slashed in the neck and cut on the hands when she chased the man outside after he dashed on the bill.

Officers responded at 11 p.m. Monday night to 92 Washington Ave. A female victim in her early 30s was working as a waitress in the restaurant Las Pupusas Del Chino.

She told officers a male party skipped out on his bill and she chased him outside. She confronted him as he entered his motor vehicle and he subsequently pulled out a cutting instrument and sliced her in the neck and right hand.

He fled in a red sedan, possibly with a Colorado license plate, down Blossom Street heading west. The victim was transported to MGH Boston and was treated for a non-life threatening injury. No arrest has been made at this time. Detectives currently following up with a strong lead as to the identity of the suspect.

The suspect’s photo has been released and he has been positively identified by the Chelsea Police Department as the suspect in the stabbing.

The Chelsea Police are requesting the public’s assistance in clarifying the suspect’s true identity. Chelsea Detectives are actively searching for the individual for charges of Armed Assault with Intent to Murder.

The victim was released from the hospital Tuesday morning.

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Police Briefs 11-09-2017

Police Briefs 11-09-2017

POLICE Briefs By Seth Daniel

TRIED TO KILL POLICE OFFICER WITH CAR

On Nov. 3 at 1:10 p.m., a victim of a Hit and Run flagged down a CPD officer on a detail. The victim reported that he had been struck by the vehicle, which fled the scene located at 280 Second St. The suspect’s vehicle was located and the detail officer attempted to stop the vehicle with verbal commands from the roadway. The officer was forced to jump out of the way to avoid being struck as the operator continued to flee the scene at a high rate of speed. The operator was later stopped by other CPD units and the operator was placed into custody

Marcio Mezabaca, 32, of 220 Broadway, was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, leaving the scene of property damage, failing to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.

STOLE CELL PHONE

On Nov. 5, at noon, a female known to a CPD officer on patrol was observed in the company of a male in the area of Cherry Street and Everett Avenue. The officer observed from a distance the known female pushing the victim, and then grabbing his cellphone. Once she observed the officer, she fled the area. She was located a short distance away and placed into custody.

Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.

ROBBED WITH BALL BAT

On Oct. 26 at 5:59 p.m., an armed robbery was reported at the Corner Market, located at 803 Broadway. The victim clerk stated that an unknown male party wearing a ski mask entered the store, struck him with a wooden bat style object, and then made away with money, an unknown amount of $30 lottery tickets and cigarettes.

The victim was treated on scene by EMS for an abrasion sustained on his left arm. The suspect was described as a black male approximately 45-47 years old, 5’8” tall, wearing a black ski mask, black jacket, blue jeans, black shoes, and gloves.

Please contact CPD Detectives if you have information to report.

PROBLEM OUTSIDE RESTAURANT

On Nov. 1, at 6:19 p.m., a disturbance was reported outside Chung Wah Restaurant, located at 460 Broadway. Officers observed a female who appeared to be intoxicated displaying boisterous behavior and disturbing the flow of pedestrian and traffic. After further investigation, she was placed into custody for being disorderly

Alisha Cohen, 38, of 36 Winthrop Rd., was charged with being disorderly and possession of an alcoholic beverage.

TEMPER, TEMPER

On Oct. 29 at 10:32 a.m., a male subject was placed into custody after he had been observed breaking a window on the old Salvation Army Donation Center, located at 456 Broadway. The officer observed the male subject punch the window as a result of an apparent argument between him and an unknown female party. He was placed into custody for malicious destruction of property.

Andrew Babigumira, 31, homeless, was charged with wanton destruction.

STABBED FOR DEALING DRUGS

On Oct. 29, at 5:05 p.m., officers responded to a reported stabbing at 744 Broadway #2. A victim was located inside the apartment with minor lacerations to the hand. The victim stated that a dispute arose with his roommate over him dealing narcotics out of their apartment.

The suspect was found by CPD offices and placed under arrest.

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Police Briefs 07-27-2017

Police Briefs 07-27-2017

BEAT WITH METAL OBJECT

On July 16, a Chelsea Police officer was dispatched to Chelsea Police Headquarters for a report of a past assault. The officer spoke with the reporting party/victim. According to victim, he was in the area of Clark Avenue and Eleanor Street when he was approached by a male known to him. He stated the suspect who he knows grabbed a metal object and began to assault him striking him in the left chest area and left upper arm.

The suspect was later apprehended and placed into custody.

Vidal Flores, 49, of 248 Parkway, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.

ASSAULTED PREGNANT WOMAN

On July 19, a CPD officer was flagged down by a pregnant female party who was stating that she had just been assaulted by a male and his girlfriend. The victim pointed out a male and a female, who were known to the officer.

The victim identified the two stating, “They jumped me.” The female was placed into custody and the male was summonsed into court for the assault.

The victim was reportedly eight months pregnant.

Diane Valentin, 27, of 10 Forsyth St., was charged with aggravated assault and battery on a pregnant person.

BOTHERING FAMILY

On July 18, a CPD officer was approached by a male party who stated that he was going to his backyard where a group of males were congregating. The men were drinking beers in the rear of a Shurtleff Street address and began to bother he and his young daughter. The male escorted the officer to the area, and upon coming into the driveway, the officer observed a male party well known to him who had his pants down and was about to start urinating in the driveway.

The officer placed the subject under arrest for trespassing. A warrant check revealed the subject was wanted by Immigration and Customs officials.

Rudis Garcia, 45, of Lynn, was charged with trespassing and an immigration detainer.

ROBBED ON BROADWAY

On July 23, officers responded to Washington Avenue at Cherry Street to assist a State Trooper who was detaining two male parties. Upon  arriving on scene the Trooper stated a witness flagged him down and told him their friend was robbed and assaulted by two unknown male parties in front of Chung Wah Restaurant in Bellingham Square.

The Trooper was able to locate those two parties on the corner of Washington Avenue and Cherry Street.

CPD officers furthered the investigation and placed the two under arrest for unarmed robbery and assault and battery.

A warrant check revealed one of the subjects was wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Alberto Hurtado, 43, of 18 Tudor St., was charged with unarmed robbery and an immigration detainer.

Raul Romero, 33, of 4 Webster Ct., was charged with unarmed robbery.

ATTACKED         WITH A CHAIR

On July 21, officers responded to a disturbance involving two parties actively fighting at 12 Hawthorne St. Upon arrival, officers separated the parties and spoke with witnesses. One of the persons involved had an arrest warrant and was placed into custody. Additionally, it was learned that he attacked two individuals with a chair.

Jorge Ruiz, 49, of Lynn, was charged with possession of a Class A drug, one warrant and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.

BUSTED FOR CRACK

On July 20, members the CPD drug and vice unit placed two individuals into custody after they were observed conducting a drug transaction of crack cocaine in the area 78 Watts St.

Andrew Babigumira, 31, homeless, was charged with distribution of a Class B drug (crack) and conspiracy.

Cesar Gomez, 32, of East Boston, was charged with possession of a Class B drug (crack) and conspiracy.

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New BBQ Restaurant Looks to Smoke the Competition on Eastern Avenue

By Seth Daniel

A new BBQ restaurant and catering business, now based in Peabody, is looking to relocate on the corner of Eastern and Crescent Avenues in a tag-team proposal with the property owner, Titan Street Sweeping.

Big Pig BBQ is looking to renovate the building on the front of the site into a catering kitchen and a retail “deli-style” BBQ restaurant.

“Big Pig BBQ sees this as an ideal location to access its catering clients as well as bring some delicious ‘Q to Chelsea,” read the filing at City Hall. “The retail concept for 300 Eastern Avenue is a BBQ market and deli, a twist on Boston’s many typical Italian markets and delis. This is a place where the customer can sit and have a casual counter service hot BBQ meal, as well as purchase prepared take-home meals and packaged BBQ specialty items.”

The bulk of the business, however, would be in the operation’s catering company. Founded in 2008 by several friends, the company has developed a dedicated catering customer base and indicated it does about 250 events per year.

The plan is to use the entire 3,000 sq. ft. building for the BBQ. Some 1,500 would be dedicated to the commercial kitchen, while 1,000 sq. ft. would be dedicated to the retail store and 500 sq. ft. to office uses.

Meanwhile, Titan Sweeping proposes a second phase of the project in which they would remove all of the street sweeping materials and debris, which now infamously litter the very visible site.

Those materials and the street sweeping machines would be moved into a new, covered building on the back of the site.

“The second phase would stop all the dumping, sorting, separating and transporting sweeping materials,” read the filing. “It would also remove all the cement blocks from the property.”

The matter has been recommended positively by the Planning Board and will have a hearing at the Zoning Board on May 12.

A rendering of the restaurant that will be known as Big Pig Restaurant and Catering on Eastern Avenue.

A rendering of the restaurant that will be known as Big Pig Restaurant and Catering on Eastern Avenue.

City Councilor Matt Frank said he believes the project is potentially an easy sell to the neighborhood.

“I don’t think anyone would have looked at that site and thought – BBQ,” he said. “However, it fits their needs and provides an amenity to the neighborhood that’s within walking distance…At least from a planning point of view, I think it is a smart use because it is certainly better than what was there before…From a planning point of view, it seems smart to me.”

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Food on Fire Gets Another Exciting Addition

The Chelsea restaurant scene is on fire, and with the addition of the upcoming Chelsea Station Restaurant and Lounge in the old Firehouse on Everett Avenue, that statement is correct both literally and figuratively.

Mark Nadow and Michael Sheridan are currently moving forward with construction and have signed a lease with Anthony Simboli for the old Fire Station on Everett Avenue – once home to the Winter Hill Bank.

Nadow said plans include refurbishing the space in the Fire House motif and offering American Bistro cuisine with a Sunday Brunch and daily lunch service. An application is before the License Commission this month for an All Alcohol Restaurant license that will allow the team a full bar and drink service.

“The property is one of the only buildings in the area that survived the Fire of 1973,” Nadow said. “We’re going to keep the original brick and keep the feel of the fire house.”

The restaurant will feature 120 seats with 11 spots on site and dinner parking across the street in the Simboli properties parking lot.

“For the dinner crowd, there will be plenty of parking,” he said.

Nadow has lived in Chelsea for more than 10 years and he and his wife have two children that attend Chelsea Public Schools. Nadow owns his own business, Quality Assurance Purchasing, for the last 17 years and has been an investor in Chelsea’s Mystic Brewery for one year.

He will not be the owner, but the CEO and president of the restaurant.

“This is my first start up restaurant,” he said. “I’ve been an investor in the Brewery for a year now and I’ve had my other company 17 years. It’s exciting and start-ups are fun, and this is my first restaurant, so it’s all new.”

Sheridan will be in charge of the food end of the business.

He took over the Ironsides Bar & Grill in Charlestown during the early 2000s with family and restored that venue into a quality location in the Town. After that, he spent time managing Croma on Newbury Street, Wink & A Nod in the South End, and the restaurants in the TD Garden such as Legends.

Nadow said he used to live in Charlestown before starting a family and moving to Chelsea, and knew Sheridan from the Ironsides. He said that friendship sparked the new venture.

“I’ve had a long friendship with Mike dating back to when he managed Ironsides Bar and Grill,” said Nadow. “I approached him because my wife and I live in Chelsea and we like the restaurants in Chelsea, but found that too often when we wanted to have a night out, we were going to Boston. We wanted to create another nice restaurant in Chelsea and asked him what he thought. We decided to go together on this collaboratively and have been working on it for four months now. We took the lease over and are starting construction on the restaurant as we speak…Our first goal was to open at the end of December, and now we’re looking towards April. It’s taken a lot longer than we expected, but the opening date is really as soon as possible.”

Nadow said the business plan is very encouraging.

Not only do they hope to attract the local crowd – who like himself is clamoring for additional choices – but also there is the potential for clientele coming from the Silver Line and from the area’s new hotels.

“We want to help grow the restaurant scene here,” he said. “At this point, Chelsea is not a destination community. We know the Silver Line expansion coming in is dictating there would be a need for five or six new restaurants. You also have the FBI building coming online too. The long-term stays and hotel customers really only have a few options and most don’t have cars, I’m told. You have good choices in Dockside and Floramo’s in walking distance, but there’s really a dearth of choices in that area. We’re hoping that with Ciao! and us coming in, we won’t be the last new restaurants.”

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Clearing the Air:Velvet Smith and Her Daughter,Ashley Alexiss, on Oxygen Tv Show

Chelsea reality show fans and viewers across the country got their first look at Velvet Smith and her daughter, Ashley Alexiss (Smith) Tuesday night and were left wondering, “Can Ashley fix Velvet?”

Velvet, the well-known and gregarious 51-year-old Chelsea native who graduated from Chelsea High School in 1981, and her stunning 24-year-old daughter, Ashley, are featured with four other mother-daughter pairs on the Oxygen television show, “Fix My Mom.”

Laura Baron appears as the life coach trying to repair the rocky mother-daughter relationships.

Velvet, who works at Floramo’s Restaurant in Chelsea, and Ashley, a model who has appeared non-nude in Playboy and Maxim magazines and other publications, were the guests of honor at a premiere party Tuesday at Rosaria’s in Saugus. The duo received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the show and each graciously posed for numerous photos with friends and guests in attendance.

“I can’t believe that it happened, that it’s really real,” said Ashley moments after the show. “It’s nice because I was finally able to let my voice be heard to my mom about my concerns for so long. We’ve really been avoiding that conversation.”

The TV show focuses on the Smith mother-daughter relationship, one in which Ashley “constantly finds herself lecturing her mom on how to behave.”

According to press materials, “since the passing of Velvet’s mother [Lillian Laffey] three years ago, Velvet has turned to a partying lifestyle to help fill a void in her heart, which has resulted in major cracks in this mother-daughter relationship.”

Velvet said she was “very nervous” waiting for the airing of the show that was filmed in Los Angeles.

“The emotions came back and I appreciate them showing my mother on national TV,” said Velvet. “She’d be so proud of us. I have this eye-opening experience now because of Ashley’s concerns about me going out and partying.”

Both women had high praise for the Oxygen staff, producers, directors, and crew. They commented on their professionalism and their assistance and genuine concern during the show’s production. The show is truly a “must watch” for all mothers and daughters.

Velvet and Ashley received a lot of airtime on the first show that included some emotional exchanges between the two. Ashley is regarded as a natural in front of the camera with her vivacious personality, self-confidence and majestic appearance, and the show should lead to other opportunities in her modeling and spokesperson career.

But Ashley said her main focus is on helping her mother, who has been such a tremendous supporter – from Ashley’s days growing up in Chelsea, to Northeast Regional where she was president of the National Honor Society, to today in California where she is living and continuing her dreams.

“This is a hard hurdle to get over and I love my mother to death,” said Ashley. “I want to keep her around as long as I can and this show can help me do that. My mom is my everything and I don’t want to lose her before I have to.”

Ashley said she was overwhelmed by th

Velvet Smith and her daughter, Ashley Alexiss, pictured with friends at the “Fix My Mom” premiere party Tuesday night at Rosaria's in Saugus.

Velvet Smith and her daughter, Ashley Alexiss, pictured with friends at the “Fix My Mom” premiere party Tuesday night at Rosaria’s in Saugus.

e large turnout at Tuesday’s premiere party.

“I cannot believe how many people showed up. I’ve never felt so blessed in my life. I’ve been talking about this for so long. It’s just humbling. It’s amazing. My friends are so incredible.”

“The turnout was amazing,” said Velvet. “My friends support me. They have been there forever through thick and thin. The people at both jobs – Floramo’s where the meat falls off the bone and PlanetTran by Avalon – gave me two months off and they supported me. Hey, I’m Velvet. I love attention but this is a bit overwhelming.”

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Sending a Message:Plaza Mexico Keeps Licenses, Gets Six Month Suspension

Chelsea Police described a scene where family members struggled to keep the intestines of a 17-year-old boy in his stomach as they frantically banged on the back door of Plaza Mexico after being locked out by a manager following a brutal stabbing allegedly by a known drug dealer from Everett who frequents the establishment.

As the family pleaded for help and no one answered, the young man bled out until his father and a friend took him to MGH-Chelsea, which was closed.

Not only did the bar manager witness the stabbing and lock the victim out, according to police, neither he nor the scores and scores of patrons in the establishment call police.

The first and only 9-1-1 call came from the family of the victim, who were at the closed MGH and requested an ambulance immediately. The only call from the establishment came from employee Miguel Sanchez, who called the non-emergency police number and was heard on the audio recording playing a cat and mouse game about where he was at – first saying he was on scene and then, after about five minutes of back and forth with the dispatcher, admitting he wasn’t there, but had been informed by his staff of a fight.

“We had a 17-year-old that was eviscerated and could have bled to death and there was no help at the bar or from the bar for him,” said Capt. Keith Houghton. “Not even anyone inside called 9-1-1. They’re clientele, and there were a lot of people there that night who saw this, not one of them called police. We had to use the New York Police Department, the Connecticut State Police and many other agencies that don’t want to be named to track the suspect to the Bronx and arrest him due to the delay in notifying us. We could have easily tracked him to his Everett address if we had been alerted immediately…They’ve been penalized before and they’ve been suspended before so I don’t know what the threshold would be for higher sanctions here.”

Still, License Commissioners in the most recent saga of Plaza Mexico on Washington Avenue hesitated to pull the licenses from the restaurant and bar, coming up short in a 2-3 vote on revocation.

Those voting to revoke were Commissioners Roy Avellaneda and Joe Cooney. Those voting against were Chair Sylvia Guzman, Ken Umemba and Mark Rossi. Rossi was the deciding vote in not revoking, seemingly being all for stripping the license but reneging on that at the last minute.

Instead, Commissioners – who stripped the licenses of Las Palmas Lounge last month in a similar situation – opted to suspend Plaza Mexico’s alcohol and entertainment licenses for six months. They are also obligated to install a new management team, install more lighting in the back, install more cameras (they already have 16), hire a new security company with at least two personnel and put in a Panic Button if possible.

In discipline meted out last month by the Commission for separate incidents, Plaza Mexico will begin serving a seven-day closure on Monday, June 22, and will have their hours rolled back to 1 a.m. They will begin the six month suspension five days after getting official notice from the Commission, which could be later this month.

“The lack of call from patrons or anyone else is scary,” said Avellaneda. “Chelsea and the family are lucky that we didn’t have a young individual die that night. God knows with the delay…I think it is a miracle the kid didn’t die. I don’t think a change of manager is a solution here. What do our agents (police) have to do to send us a message? Produce a dead body?”

Umemba was the chief Commissioner arguing for a long suspension.

“I don’t think revocation is the ultimate solution,” he said. “We need to tread gingerly in rushing into total revocation of the licenses. I don’t want it to reverse on appeal. The evidence has to be overwhelming, and I haven’t seen this video [of the incident]. None of us have. We can’t because it is still part of an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Guzman was no pushover for the restaurant, and was very critical of Sanchez and other members of the current staff. However, she said she didn’t think the situation rose to the Palmas situation where the licenses were taken.

“Management and personnel are a systemic failure for this establishment,” she said. “The proposal for a fresh face and a new manager is not it. We still have Miguel… and the staff staying there. Their presence has not changed in many years…My vote [for revocation] on Palmas was because of cumulative things. Though they are similar, they are not the same…For that reason, I am thinking of a long suspension. I’m not quite there on revocation.”However, that 2-3 vote came as quite a surprise after deliberation. Many, even the applicant’s attorney David L’Esperance, seemed to feel that the writing was on the wall and the licenses were about to be taken.

Three votes seemed to be wrapped up, but Rossi changed at the last minute – seemingly erring on the side of caution with Umemba.

The night started out with Attorney L’Esperance admitting that the restaurant had major, systemic failures and that it proposed to enact a seven day closure and then come back with a complete revamp of policies and management.

They also proposed several other improvements as well.

“If it’s the manager and the staff that’s the issue, I’m willing to change whatever has to be changed,” said Geraldo Acunha, who is the manager of record. “I’ll be there full time to make sure things will go the way they should…I’m willing to do whatever you want me to do. we want to save the business.”

No one was buying it, however, especially the police who said they were at a “180-degree” difference with the management on what has occurred there and what needs to be done.

Capt. Houghton indicated that a new manager would probably be a straw.

“There’s a term called a straw,” he said. “They’re going to get someone clean and put them up and the same people are going to run the business. We know that. I think the Commission knows that. They say the owner is going to resign. How is that going to work?”

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