Mount Vernon — Corporation Council Lawrence A. Pocari Jr, Esq, Honorary Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio, Acting Fire Commissioner Ernest Richardson and Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate were among those present at OK Freddy’s Meat Market located at 132 South Fourth Avenue and evicted Freddy and his employees, giving them 15 minutes to get out of the business and then shutdown and padlocked the business, earlier this week. This followed the lot next door being padlocked on Saturday, which was said to be owned by the city.
The owner of the lot, OK Freddy’s Meat Market and Dazzle’s Restaurant & Lounge sent papers to show the city does not own the property but she does, but her pleas fell on deaf ears and the lot remained closed. While interviewing Freddy and his employees, two Mount Vernon Police Officers pulled up to check the lock on the gate at 11:25 A.M. When BW questioned them they said the officers were ordered to make sure the lock wasn’t cut and no one was behind the gate and then stated it was deemed city-owned property.
Freddy and his employees are calling the shut down illegal and have hit a brick wall everywhere they have turned to including Mayor Richard Thomas and his administration, when they went looking for answers.
When one of Freddy’s supporters walked up and was told the city shut down Freddy’s he quickly pulled out his phone and texted the mayor. Mayor Thomas responded, “It was outside law enforcement and out of my hands.” After reading the response to us, he then showed all the mayor’s response, who was at his graduation from NYU Stern School of Business at Yankee Stadium at the time.
The Mount Vernon Police Department says it wasn’t them, the Fire Department says it wasn’t them, the Health Department says it wasn’t them, the Building Department didn’t show any prior violations, so Freddy who was at his wit’s end, reached out to Black Westchester, “They shut down mi, and mi not understand why they illegally shut down mi for no reason and mi want answers.”
Coming to the aid of Freddy’s was Phil’s Meat Market and Grocery (118 South Fourth Avenue) that lent a hand by storing as much of Wednesday’s delivery as possible. Everyday Freddy’s is closed, in addition to the loss in business, they have close to $50,000 in product going bad, Freddy’s employees informed with BW.
OK Freddy’s was just one of the business that has experienced immediately being shut down, the other one was Mega Beverage Redemption Center, located at 121 East Third Street, also in Mt. Vernon. Dean K. Cutter, the owner of Mega Beverge immediately called Councilwoman Roberta Apuzzo and put her on the phone with Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate. After the call, Fatigate allegedly told Cutter, “You are going to personally regret putting me on the phone with Roberta.” The City of Mount Vernon also closed down what they are calling an ‘Illegal Rooming House’ located at 141-143 South 13th Avenue.
BW caught up with Freddy, a few of his employees and some supporters in the neighborhood who aired not only their disappointment of Freddy’s and the lot next door being shutdown, but also their disapproval of how it went down. (see video below)
Black Westchester began looking into Freddy’s being shutdown on Wednesday. We reached out to the Comptroller’s office and found out that the taxes on the property are current and up-to-date, when it was suggested it was possibly closed because of negligence in paying their taxes. Comptroller Maureen Walker helped BW rule that out as a possibility.
BW will be speaking with the Corporation Counsel, the MVPD and Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate, Acting Fire Commissioner Ernest Richardson, Honorary Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio, The Mayor’s office, the Building Department, the Health Department and anyone else we need to, to get some answers. We are going to ask why was Freddy’s shutdown, were they issued violations and if so when, did violations come with a time period to correct what was wrong if they were issued, was this an illegal shutdown, what is the proper procedure to shut down a business in the City of Mount Vernon, is this part of Mayor Thomas’ campaign against Crime and Grime, which he shared with the press and public on Tuesday, is Mayor Thomas’ fight against Crime and Grime illegally shutting down businesses?
OK Freddy’s asked for our help and we will investigate and report back whatever we find, where ever it leads. Stay tuned to BW for more on this developing story. As always feel free to share your thoughts, comments or concerns below in the comment section!