Rules of Engagement

President Biden & Congress: URGENT Request to Replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund-Support ALL Eligible Independent Restaurants & Bars NOW!!! #ReplenishRRF

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 07/12/2021

What would you do if you owned a business and were notified that after barely surviving the horrific hardship of the pandemic, a significant cash windfall/grant (not loan) was imminent? Spend/invest in personal and professional necessities/improvements you were holding off on? Take care of your employees, family, colleagues, employees, vendors, and landlord? Splurge/celebrate a little, believing substantial help was on the verge of finally becoming reality?

That scenario is exactly what played out to hundreds of thousands of hopeful independent restaurant and bar owners across America recently. The promise of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was palpable. And on Wednesday, 6/30, the proverbial rug was pulled out from under most of the grant-eligible restaurants in an email from the US Small Business Administration. This is absolute bullshit, and President Biden, his administration, and Congress need to urgently replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund until EVERY eligible, Independent Restaurant and Bar in America is funded according to what they qualified for.

Tragically, many restaurants and bars will not have time to wait for a replenishment of the fund. And ironically, many folks that received huge grants may decide to ‘take the money and run’, after contemplating, “Why reopen and go back to the rat race if I don’t need to prove how I spend the money?” In an industry with 5(ish) percent ‘profit’ margins, you’re essentially ‘giving back’ 95% of the grant by grinding it out and staying open. This WILL happen, and should have been anticipated/prevented in the screening process. Based on the initial formula for eligibility, a lot of restaurants that received huge grants were actually rewarded for shutting down 100% rather than ‘pivoting’ the way that many of their peers did to support their staff, vendors, and community. The greater the loss, the bigger the grants. Yes, every restaurant, owner, and set of ethical standards are unique, and many ‘true colors,’ good, bad, and ugly have been revealed throughout the plague…

Even worse than learning that the RRF has been depleted, is the kick in the teeth finding out that ‘ineligible’ restaurants received huge grants by circumventing the qualification requirements or leveraging their political clout to cheat the system. Why weren’t their grants rescinded? Those funds could have been spread out to Mom and Pop neighborhood restaurants and bars that didn’t get a dime. If you’re furious, I’m with you, and it’s time to take action. And the restaurants that were fortunate enough to receive grants from the first round of funding need to continue to fight for equity for their industry brothers and sisters until every eligible restaurant in America is funded.

On Thursday, July 1, I posted the following in my Server Not Servant Facebook Group, Instagram, and Twitter:

“Awful news for many independent U S. restaurants anxiously awaiting word on the status of their Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants. From the 7/1/21 Restaurant Business article, “In a letter emailed Wednesday night to applicants, the U.S. Small Business Administration said it was able to provide grants of up to $10 million to 105,000 restaurant operators before the program’s $28.6 billion was depleted. Yet, it indicated, another 265,000 applicants were left disappointed…Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to replenish the fund with an additional $60 billion, but the bill has not progressed.”

Simple math indicated that the grant program was woefully underfunded from the outset. Precedent had been set when the U.S. Govt ‘bailed out’ big banks, Bear Stearns (“Too big to fail”), FNMA, Freddie Mac, AIG & Insurance companies, the Airline & Auto Industries during crises. Independent restaurants are major contributors to the US economy, and the pandemic is one of the worst calamities we have ever faced as a nation.

Further, “Second-order effects of restaurant closures ripple through the American economy, bringing economic pain to farmers, foragers, ranchers, manufacturers, and other producers who supply the industry. Equally hit are supply chain partners who move good across the country.” –Forbes 8/10/20

Owning and operating a restaurant and small business is a fucking grind during ‘normal’ times. After what restaurateurs have endured since the onset of the pandemic, the U S. Congress needs to act urgently to replenish the fund and equitably provide grants to every eligible independent restaurant in America. If not, with the increase in food and labor costs, and shortage of staff, the absence of the highly-anticipated grants will be the death knell for a rash of neighborhood restaurants teetering on the brink.”

In the comments on all 3 platforms I added the following:

According to the NYT, 7/1/21, “When Congress created the restaurant fund in March as part of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, it ordered the Small Business Administration to put a priority on funding for businesses owned by women, people of color and military veterans.”

I fully support priority being ‘granted’ to oppressed or ‘underserved’ (SBA’s language) groups of American restaurant and bar owners. It’s about fucking time. However, with more forethought and creativity, lawmakers could have done a much better job executing the distribution of funds. What unfolded is a clusterfuck of lawsuits, rescinded grants, policy changes, empty promises, disappointment, high stress. and anxiety.

“For a hundred thousand restaurants, the R.R.F. has made their future clear and stable, but for the more than 200,000 operators shut out of funding, receiving this letter today only heightens their fear and anger,” said Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association. “We need Congress to act.” -NYT

Without additional funding, they will undermine the initiative by perpetuating jealousy/envy/anger between the ‘haves’ (grantees) and ‘have nots,’ again. This is exactly what many Americans have been trying to ameliorate forever…

What should have been done? 

Again, to me, the most glaring inequity here is that many restaurants and bars (groups) received $10 million grants, and MANY received ZERO. Here’s proof. (Click on the link to see what restaurants in your neighborhood/state received, and which Mom and Pop joints you love received nothing.)  It doesn’t take a Fields Medal recipient to realize that a more thoughtful, creative, equitable distribution of funds was possible.

  1. Very simply, if $28.6 billion was available for 370,000 eligible applicants, $77k+ could have been distributed to everyone eligible.
  2. I get that the $10 Million grant recipients have more than 1 restaurant. However, instead of disbursing $10 million to some restaurant groups, even if they got $1 million and the other $9 million was disbursed in $50k increments, 180 Mom and Pop neighborhood restaurants that didn’t receive a nickel would be absolutely thrilled right now instead of infuriated. [In an industry where 5% ‘profit’ margins are common, it would take $1 million in sales to generate $50k in profit.]

This IS LIFE or DEATH for restaurants and bars. And without our outrage and support, many more will close for good.

I’ve been an early advocate of a federal grant program and relief for independent restaurants and bars, here, here, here, here, and here.  Conceptually, philosophically, and morally, based on American precedent, it is the right thing to do. The necessity of restaurants/bars shutting down was imperative in the interest of the safety and health of the American people–workers and the public. The RRF was well-intended, but VERY poorly executed. And now it’s time to rectify the wrongs and support every eligible independent restaurant in America.

I will update/edit this post often to include specifics on how you can take action. Please email me at patrick@servernotservant.com or add your comments and links below to support the #RestaurantRevolt and save your favorite American neighborhood restaurants. Please share far and wide. Thank you.

  1. Follow Independent Restaurant Coalition for specifics on how you can urge President Biden, US leaders, and Congress to do the right thing.
  2. It will be very interesting to see if the large (or any) grant recipients offer to give back (similar to PPP) or attempt to locally reallocate a portion of their grants now that they’re realizing that many of their neighbors and industry community members got nothing.

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Support the Restaurants Act-4 Actions You Can Take Now via Independent Restaurant Coalition

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 02/11/2021

Shared with permission from the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC). Please visit their site and sign up for email updates. And please share this on your social media platforms and with everyone you know who cares about independent restaurants. Thank you-Patrick Maguire #ServerNotServant

2/11/21 IRC Update:

We’ve never been closer to our goal. In the first ever Senate vote on restaurant relief last week, 90 senators supported the creation of an independent restaurant and bar relief fund in the budget. Hours later, the RESTAURANTS Act was reintroduced in the House and Senate.

To ensure our bill becomes law — helping businesses survive and get millions of employees back to work — we need to secure as many cosponsors as possible. Even though we had massive support in 2020, we’re starting from scratch because there’s a new Congress, which means lawmakers have to cosponsor again even if they did so last year.

Here’s how you can make a difference in a matter of minutes by completing one (or all four!) of these actions:

HAVE 2 MINUTES?
Email your representatives asking them to cosponsor the RESTAURANTS Act.

5 MINUTES?
Encourage your network on social media to contact their representatives and advocate for the passage of the RESTAURANTS Act by sharing the graphic linked here and the caption below.

It’s official: the RESTAURANTS Act of 2021 is on the menu in both chambers of Congress. Call your representatives today and tell them that independent restaurants, bars, and workers can’t wait any longer for direct relief: 202-224-3121 #SaveRestaurants

10 MINUTES?
Call your representatives directly at 202-224-3121 and tell them why independent restaurants and bars need the RESTAURANTS Act — and how it would help save millions of jobs nationwide. Use our new advocacy guide to familiarize yourself with our latest talking points.

1 MORE MINUTE?
Forward this information to friends, family members, or colleagues and invite them to sign up for our movement to #SaveRestaurants.

Thanks for helping us reach the light at the end of the tunnel,

The IRC Team

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Should We Trust the ‘New’ Phantom Gourmet?

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 08/31/2020

It was only a matter of time.

You find out people’s true colors by their consistent actions over time, not just by what they say, but by what they do. Of course, people who are truly open to critical thinking, life-long learning, and opportunity can change.

It’s been more than nine and a half years since the infamous Phantom Gourmet radio program when Michael Andelman made the following comments about a hostess at Grill 23 in Boston:

“We walk in and the hostess who’s the typical hot woman, rude, cold- as-ice, never would talk to me in high school-type girl…”

“Danny, the fact that you consistently take the side of the restaurateur or just a really stupid maître d’ or a hostess over your family time and time again…”

“And it’s not like this was 8pm on a Saturday night. It’s 5 o’clock, and guess what, if the owner of Grill 23 was standing next to this dumb hostess, this moronic hostess who was just getting her, uh, jollies off by sticking to the rules of her little brochure in a little binder, this little monkey, her only job is to look at this binder and say don’t let people in ‘till 5:30….”

“There’s not a hostess who’s not good-looking, because they’re incompetent and can’t do anything else in life. If you can’t model, when you’re good-looking enough and not tall enough to model, you stand behind a little box and say, How many?”

During that radio program, Dan Andelman asked Michael and his father, Eddie, “How did she look from the back?”

On 2/25/11, I published a blog post, To Mike and Dan Andelman: A Call for a Public Apology.

In that post, I included the content of an email I sent to the Andelman brothers, including the email address of everyone I could track down who worked at the TV station that aired their program. Excerpts from my email:

“You had a week between radio shows to reflect on your comments that were posted on the 96.9 website (2/12/11 Eddie and Mike go to a Celtics game), and to consider issuing a public apology on your 2/19 program. You failed to do that, and mysteriously the audio has been removed from the 96.9 website.

The only public comments I have seen from either one of you are in a piece by Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein in The Boston Globe on 2/23:”

“Phantom Gourmet” host Mike Andelman is surprised by the online criticism concerning comments he made on “The Phantom Gourmet” radio show about restaurant hostesses. Ranting about a Grill 23 hostess who wouldn’t seat him in the dining room before the dinner hour began, Andleman said all restaurant hostesses are attractive but incompetent. Yesterday, he told us the comments were meant to be facetious. “Our radio show is obviously satire,”…

As I noted in my follow-up blog post on 3/14/11, Dan did apologize on their 2/26/11 radio show:

Dan: “I apologize for my rude, insensitive comment about her back.” [To Dan’s credit, he did sound sincere.]

During that same radio program, Dave (returning from vacation) reacted to a replay of the original, offensive radio segment:

Dave: [No acknowledgement of Mike’s ‘dumb’, ‘moron’ and ‘monkey’ comments.] I don’t even think it’s interesting enough for us to be replaying it on our own show. [3 brothers laughing hysterically] I’m waiting for the bomb to drop. That was it? That’s what you had to bother me for in Aruba and all week?

Therein lies the problem. By virtue of ignoring the offensive comments, and supporting his brothers, Dave now joins Mike and Dan in thinking it’s ok to make and defend disingenuous, odious remarks.

Dan: Michael, now that we’ve heard it, do you have something to say to New England?

Michael: I do. Number one, um, I, if I do find out who the hostess is at Grill 23, and the Boston Globe says they’re not sure who it is, ok, I’ve talked with my wife, um, I want to ask the hostess on a date. I have a hall pass if she would like to go out with me. I will take her out for dinner, for dancing…

I don’t know Danny, you are always the ombudsman of this program. Dad said something about winos, you talked about her [hostess] wearing yoga pants and I called her a moronic hostess. You tell me Danny, you’ve got the final word.

Dan: Frankly, not even in the top hundred offensive or amusing segments we’ve ever done.

Dave: No, there’s nothing even remotely interesting about it.

Dave: They [The Globedo sort of try to claim there’s a massive online controversy. That’s just not factually accurate. There’s like 4 guys talking to each other online, I mean that’s ridiculous.

Mike: I do apologize when I said all hostesses are moronic and stupid, and I do 100% apologize. I’m not including the average-looking ones who do a very good job. [Dan laughs hysterically.] I am only talking about the hot ones who have no idea…

Mike wasted the opportunity to do the right thing and sincerely apologize. Instead, he made a mockery of his misogyny. As I noted in my 3/14/11 blog post:

None of the hundreds of current and former restaurant industry workers who contacted me over the last few weeks is buying Mike’s childish, “I was just kidding, I’m just a jackass” defense. Everyone remotely involved with the restaurant community, with any credibility, understands exactly what the Andelmans are all about. Introspection and decency are lost on them. Their long-standing reputation for crassness and classless behavior has been bolstered by this incident.

But it wasn’t Michael’s pre-#MeToo antics, and Dave and Dan’s enabling comments that put the Phantom Gourmet TV program in the penalty box. After Dave wrote a series of Facebook posts mocking recent protests against racial injustice, the Phantom Gourmet TV program was temporarily shut down. According to Boston Magazine on 6/15/20:

“Dave Andelman has resigned as CEO of Phantom Gourmet, effective immediately. Per a post on the Phantom Gourmet Facebook page, Andelman will no longer appear on episodes of the TV show, will not be involved in any day-to-day operations, and will relinquish his ownership in the company. He will also resign from the Mendon Twin Drive-In. Dan Andelman, who co-hosted the program with his brother Dave, will take over as CEO.”

This isn’t the first time that the three Andelman brothers, who are all involved in the Phantom Gourmet empire and also co-own the popular Mendon Twin Drive-In movie theater, have been swept up in controversy. In 2011, Mike Andelman made headlines after an appearance on the Phantom Gourmet radio show in which he called a hostess who refused to seat him early at Grill 23 “a little monkey” and added that restaurant hostesses are often attractive because “they’re incompetent and can’t do anything else in life.”

After more than 2 months “on hiatus,” programming of Phantom Gourmet resumed on Saturday, 8/29/20. According to CBS Boston on 8/28/20:

“We’re going to look at this as the ultimate teaching moment. We’ve listened, and we’ve learned. And I think once we could put our actions to positively affect the community, I think we can really do some good,” said Dan Andelman.

Andelman says those actions include a complete overhaul of the company’s culture. At the helm of diversity and inclusion training will be community activist Tito Jackson, who’ll also help Phantom use its platform to elevate minority owned businesses.

“We are looking at an extended, at least year-long engagement, to do executive coaching, working with the actual staff, [we’ll be] looking at hiring,” Jackson said. “The real objective is working with people who are going to hold them to the grindstone when it comes to doing the right thing over the course of time. And changing the show, so the show is a reflection of the folks that are in the community.”

When Dan Andelman posted on his personal Facebook page on Saturday morning, 8/29/20, “See you on TV today,” I added the comment, It will be interesting to see if new programming is preceded by a long-overdue apology to the Grill 23 hostess and all hostesses denigrated by Michael on the old radio program, and for Daves’s tone deaf mockery of Black Lives Matter. Now is the perfect ‘teachable moment’ to take responsibility and genuinely apologize, instead of the old, “We were just kidding” excuse… I also attached my old blog post from 3/14/11. [To Dan’s credit, he did not delete my post.]

I recorded and watched the openings, closings, and most of the programming of the 5 Phantom Gourmet segments aired over the weekend. They all appeared to be repeats. None of them included an opening apology or statement about why they were shut down, or what they have “learned” during their ‘sabbatical.’ Another lost opportunity to demonstrate genuine remorse.

What I did see was a segment stating that, “The Phantom Gourmet supports black-owned restaurants like 50Kitchen in Dorchester,… Medford’s Neighborhood Kitchen,… and Suya Joint in Roxbury… Help preserve Boston’s black history and businesses at BlackHospitalityco.com.”

Questions remain:

  1. Will anyone at Phantom Gourmet issue an apology or statement before their first new, original episode?
  2. Will Michael Andelman ever genuinely apologize for his misogynist comments and degradation of women?
  3. Is the latest PR from Phantom Gourmet tokenism or are they sincere in their “complete overhaul of the company’s culture?”
  4. Will Dave continue to be compensated by PG, despite his public relinquishing of ownership? [Most probably.]

As I noted in my tweet over the weekend, We’ll see……..

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Whining over Waiter Spilling Wine on $30k Hermès Handbag

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 11/14/2019

A job posting  from approximately 1 year ago, for the General Manager position at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, NJ states that the “exclusive private country club” was “Seeking a General Manager who demonstrates a leadership style promoting a culture that results in Member satisfaction and employee engagement…” And under, “KEY ATTRIBUTES AND AREAS OF FOCUS,” the posting states that, “The successful General Manager will demonstrate:

  • The ability and desire to engage sincerely and proactively with members and staff in a manner that drives high levels of engagement, excitement, and enthusiasm.
  • A hospitality professional who has the ability to create an environment where the staff looks forward to coming to work every day because they are developed and respected.”

“KEY INITIAL PRIORITIES” include:

  • “The GM will be present and positively approachable where needed to develop strong member and staff trust and confidence; approachability, follow up, and candid, respectful interactions are key.”

It’s hard to be engaged, excited, enthused, trusting, and looking forward to coming to work every day when you are being sued by your own employer…

On 11/12/19, a longtime member of my Server Not Servant Facebook Group posted the sarcastic comment, “This will really boost staff morale,” accompanied by a link to a USA Today story with the headline:  “Customer: Wine spill on Hermès bag was $30k mistake. Country club: Our waiter should pay.” The piece states that plaintiff, Maryana Bader sued Alpine Country Club for $30,000 on October 29th, close to a year after a server allegedly spilled wine on her “ultra-expensive” purse during dinner, and the Country Club, in turn, sued their server to cover the damages.

From the piece:

“So basically, what this is is that they’re asking the employee to pay whatever they owe under the law to my client,” said Alexandra Errico, Beyder’s attorney. “So they’re suing their own employee that they hired.”

And the internet exploded with outrage, mostly in support of the server, and with fury directed at the posh country club with a $65k+ initiation fee and $19k+ annual dues. 

Not so fast, says Alpine Country Club attorney, Ken Merber.

Here is my email exchange from 11/13/19 with Atty Merber.

Patrick Maguire(PM): Good Afternoon, Ken- I write a blog supporting a forthcoming book advocating for service industry workers, I’m your Server Not your Servant. I’m working on a blog post discussing the lawsuit over the wine-stained Hermes bag, and the Alpine lawsuit against their own waiter. I would like to give you and Alpine Country Club an opportunity to offer your sides of the story.

Attorney Merber(AM): Mr. Maguire, I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your email dated 11/13/19 with your questions regarding Ms. Beyder’s lawsuit against Alpine Country Club. See Alpine’s responses to your inquiries below. The issues disputed in the lawsuit do not involve employer-employee relations between Alpine Country Club and its employees.

PM: Why are you suing an Alpine Country Club employee?

AM: Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag.

PM: Does the employee being sued still work for Alpine Country Club?

AM: Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag. Alpine Country Club respects the privacy of its members, guests and employees. Alpine will not comment publicly regarding its employees.

PM: Are suing your employee with their consent in order to defeat the plaintiff?

AM: Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag. Alpine Country Club is confident it will prevail in the litigation Plaintiff filed. Alpine Country Club intends to and will successfully defend Plaintiff’s claims in the court in which the lawsuit was filed and not in the press.

PM: Is the lawsuit against your employee still pending or have you withdrawn it?

AM: Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine never filed a separate lawsuit against any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag.

PM: Are you getting a lot of backlash from your staff as a result of the lawsuit against your employee?

AM: No. Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine never filed a separate lawsuit against any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag.

PM: Don’t you think suing your server is an awful strategy for morale and recruiting and retaining employees, especially during a period of record low unemployment?

AM: Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine never filed a separate lawsuit against any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag. The health, well-being and privacy of Alpine Country Club’s employees are of Paramount importance to the Club and its management.

PM: Aren’t you concerned about PR and the public’s perception of your lack of support for your own team?

AM: Alpine Country Club respect and supports the privacy and dignity of all of its members, guests and staff. Alpine Country Club is not suing any of its employees. Alpine never filed a separate lawsuit against any of its employees. Alpine is not asserting any claims and is not seeking damages against any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag.

PM: Is there anything else you would like me to include in the blog post from you or on behalf of Alpine Country Club?

AM: Attached is a copy of Alpine Country Club’s statement regarding this lawsuit:

My law firm and I have been retained to represent Alpine Country Club in a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, Law Division. This matter has received substantial media coverage. Alpine Country Club provides the following statement regarding the lawsuit.

ALPINE COUNTRY CLUB
MEDIA STATEMENT
November 12, 2019
Beyder v. Alpine Country Club

Alpine Country Club and its management respect the dignity and privacy of the Club’s members, guests and employees. The safety and well-being of Alpine Country Club’s members, guests and employees are of paramount importance to the Club and its management.

Alpine Country Club is aware of the allegations of wrongdoing asserted against it by one of its members in her publicly filed complaint and her counsel’s orchestrated media campaign. Alpine Country Club has been aware of Plaintiff’s allegations since the subject incident occurred. Alpine Country Club, its management, counsel and agents have taken Plaintiff’s allegations seriously and have acted reasonably and responsibly in response thereto. Neither the Club nor its counsel or agents have ignored or refused to address Plaintiff’s complaint. The pleadings raise issues regarding the property damage Plaintiff claims she suffered, the authenticity of the handbag and its value. Plaintiff has not provided any receipt pertaining to the purchase of the subject handbag.

Alpine Country Club is not making any claim against and is not seeking any damages from any of its employees, including the waiter who allegedly caused damage to Plaintiff’s handbag, pertaining to the subject incident. Alpine Country Club looks forward to its opportunity to successfully defend Plaintiff’s claims. The disputed issues will be adjudicated through the court proceedings and not in the media.

PM response email at 1:43 on 11/13/19: Thank you, Ken. I will be sure to quote you verbatim. Can you please tell me your perception of why so many media outlets are reporting that Alpine Country Club sued their own employee who allegedly spilled wine on Ms. Beyder’s $30,000 handbag?

PM 4:13 on 11/13/19: Hello, Ken- Thanks again for your timely response and the detail. FYI, to be clear and fair, if I don’t hear back from you on my outstanding question by tomorrow morning (11/14), I’ll include that you did not respond. Thank you. [He did not respond.]

On the morning of 11/14/19, after email and phone inquiries on 11/13, I received email responses from Attorney Alexandra Errico, counsel for the customer with the wine-stained Hermes handbag, stating that, “The attorney for Alpine is lying in his statement to the media,” and that “The answer crossclaim (against the waiter) was filed on 11/07/19. The amended answer removing the cross claim was filed on 11/12/2019.”

Attorney Errico also sent me a link and the statement, “I emailed you a crossclaim that Alpine’s attorney filed against their own employee on November 7, 2019.”

I was not able to open the link because it was registered user and password protected.

I spoke to someone working at the NJ Superior Court Clerk’s Office at 609-421-6100. They told me that there is no online, public access to the cases I referenced.

I have invited additional comments/evidence from Attorney Ken Merber (for Alpine Country Club) and Attorney Alexandra Errico (for handbag plaintiff), and will update this post when I receive more information.

Despite numerous inquiries, I have been unsuccessful in attempting to track down the Alpine Country Club server at the center of the lawsuits. I welcome the opportunity to communicate with them if anyone can help facilitate.

Updates are also welcome in the comments below. Thank you.

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Backwards Boston Bar/Restaurant Realities

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 03/13/2019

It’s counterintuitive to refuse to call the police when there’s a problem in your restaurant/bar for fear of being cited and penalized. I’ve been there and (not) done that. It’s been the reality in Boston for far too long. It’s a broken ‘system’ that needs to be improved dramatically and fast, for the safety of restaurant staff and customers alike.

Bad restaurant and bar operators should not be treated the same as good, responsible operators.

This post is dedicated to helping the Boston bar and restaurant community, Boston Police, the public, and lawmakers identify specific, common sense solutions and implementing them. Enough talk, let’s ‘fix’ this to the extent we can.

Restaurant/bar owners and staff, please see the end of this post to become part of the solution.

This article by Danny McDonald in the Boston Globe on 3/13/19 outlines the problem and why it has come to the forefront in Boston:

After two women were abducted from Boston nightspots, one of whom was found dead days later in Delaware, more than 200 people packed a South Boston union hall Tuesday afternoon to discuss patron safety.

Police Commissioner William G. Gross invited the owners of bars and clubs and other liquor license holders to the meeting to discuss best practices, safety strategies, and other steps to foster secure environments.

“This is all to send a clear-cut message that enough’s enough,” Gross said following the meeting, which was closed to the news media. “There are predators out there. There are hunters out there.”

As a step toward improving safety, business owners, law enforcement, and licensing authorities will form a working group to continue public safety discussions, Gross said.

The meeting came one day after Louis D. Coleman III of Providence was arraigned on a kidnapping charge in US District Court in Boston.

Coleman, 32, allegedly abducted Jassy Correia, 23, after she left the Venu nightclub in the Theatre District early on Feb. 24.

Four days later, her body was found in a suitcase in the trunk of a car that police had pulled over on Interstate 95 in Wilmington, Del.

Correia died a little more than a month after another 23-year-old woman had vanished after leaving Hennessy’s, a bar near Faneuil Hall, on Jan. 19. She was allegedly held captive for three days in a Charlestown apartment by Victor Pena, 38.

Police made a dramatic rescue of the woman, whose name is being withheld because she’s an alleged victim of sexual assault.

Pena faces charges that include kidnapping and three counts of aggravated rape.

On Tuesday, Gross referenced both cases.

“Too many tragedies have occurred,” he said.

During the meeting, proprietors wanted to know if their establishments could be cited if they reported an incident or suspicious behavior, Gross said.

The discussion turned to the city establishing a “better means of documenting when someone has cooperated with us,” he said.

“That’s only fair,” he added.

In years past, bars in Boston have faced punitive action if they contact police about a problem, said City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

That had a chilling effect on establishments calling 911, because a police response would be likely to trigger a license violation. Being cited for a violation would mean that the owner would have to attend a hearing and hire an attorney, Flaherty said.

Flaherty said it would be a “new day” in the city if establishments can contact the authorities without fear of punishment.
“It was very refreshing to hear the police commissioner renew a partnership with bar, restaurant, and nightclub owners,” Flaherty said. “This, hopefully, is going to result in a better and safer experience for patrons and establishment owners alike.”

Gross mentioned that there are people who hang out outside of clubs at closing time and don’t go into the establishments. “We want to send a message to folks that do that: We’re watching you,” Gross said. “All of us.”
He also stressed the importance of video surveillance systems and driver’s license scanners. In the two recent attacks on young women. video footage was instrumental in the investigations, he said.

“We’re talking about saving lives,” Gross said.

Attendance at the meeting was voluntary for restaurant, bar, and club owners, police said. Personnel from the Boston Police Department, State Police, MBTA Transit Police, and the city’s Licensing Board attended, Gross said.
After the meeting, Jeff Goldenberg, general manager of the House of Blues, stressed the importance of timely information-sharing.

“It’s a time for all of us to come together,” he said after the meeting.

“It takes a village. The safety of not just our guests, but also of our staff, is important to all of us.”

This post and your comments below will be forwarded to the ‘working group’ being formed to continue the conversation. The comments below are open to everyone, subject to moderation. If you prefer, email your comments to me at Patrick@servernotservant.com and I will forward them to the group.

Restaurant/bar owners and workers:

  1.  Name or do you prefer to remain anonymous?
  2.  How many years of experience do you have in the Boston bar/restaurant industry?
  3.  What positions have you held and/or what is your current job?
  4.  From your perspective, what are the problems? (Specific stories encouraged.)
  5.  What are your specific recommendations for improvement?
  6.  Feel free to add anything you’d like to add perspective and value to this discussion.

Thank you.

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