Originally posted on June 25. Updated on June 27, with details from the agreement.
FRAMINGHAM – Samba Steak & Sushi will lose its all-alcohol licence for 16-days in July, after the Framingham License Commission voted unanimously on Monday night, June 24, during a public hearing.
After three liquor license violations in less than six months, Framingham Police, City Solicitor Christopher Petrini, and the owner of Samba Joseph Zhang worked out an agreement, that combines liquor license violations (4, 5, & 6) into the restaurant’s official fourth violation.
5 Stars Restaurant Group, Inc. doing business as Samba Steak & Sushi house was was given a 30-day suspension, with 16 days to be served July 1-16, and 14 days to be held in abeyance for two years, which is un-appealable to the Massachusetts alcohol board.
The Commission voted 4-0 (with Cesar Monzon not in attendance).
During the 16-day suspension, a copy of the agreement must be prominently displayed and all alcohol removed, if the restaurant choose to remain open.The owner can also choose to just close for the 16 days.
The restaurant also agreed to provide to the City every 6 months a list of all employees who are eligible to serve alcohol, and copies of their ID card issued by Framingham Police.
If the restaurant fails to submit by the deadlines, the all-alcohol license automatically will be suspended for 14 days, explained chair Adam Barnosky.
Commission Stuart Pologne said if the 14 days in abeyance are used, he would support revokation of the all-alcohol license, citing an ongoing histort of violations with this establishment both with the Framingham Selectmen, and now the Framingham License Commission.
Samba was facing its fourth, fifth and sixth alcohol license violations stemming from incidents on August 4, 2018; September 29, and November 19.
On August 4, 2018, Shiyun Zhang, also known as Joe Zhang, was assaulted by a patron of Samba.
During this assault, Zhang was placed in a choke hold by the patron and nearly lost consciousness. As a result of this assault, the patron was arrested and charged by the Framingham Police department with attempted murder, among other charges.
Framingham Police arrested at 1:20 a.m. on a Saturday Tayoan Delima Santos, 20, of 27 Kelly Court in Brighton at Samba Steak & Sushi. He was charged with attempted murder, assault and battery and disorderly conduct.
During the investigation, Framingham Police learned that the patron was 20 years old and had been sold alcoholic beverages by a Samba employee.
On September 29, 2018 at 2:15 a.m., the Framingham Police was notified by Metro West Medical Center (hospital) that a stabbing victim had been treated at the hospital.
Officers responded to the hospital and were able to determine that the stabbing had occurred shortly before the closing time in the parking lot of Samba.
In a telephone interview conducted after the incident, the victim told Framingham Police he was “walking towards the back parking lot of Samba Steak House [at approximately1:45 a.m.), where he observed two other males in the lot who were intoxicated and had been kicked out of Samba by security. He saw [the person with whom he had arrived at Samba Steak House) thrown to the ground by a member of the security team, but that he was unsure exactly who the security team member was. He stated that at this point he was ‘jumped by unknown people in the lot’ and felt pain in his buttocks (stabbed). He stated that he had consumed 4-5 mixed drinks while at Samba Steak House and that he had paid cash for the drinks. He described his level of intoxication as near ‘blackout drunk’,” according to the agreement SOURCE obtained from the City.
According to the Framingham Records, the Manager of Record for Samba Steak House is Traci N. Simpson, said the agreement document.
“During follow-up telephone interviews, the Framingham Police Department learned that that Traci N. Simpson was unknown to the bartender and the three Framingham Police Officers who had previously supervised the Framingham Licensing Bureau,” according to the agreement. “In-house Framingham Police Department records indicate that: Traci N. Simpson’s Framingham Alcohol server ID expired on 02/04/2013, Wenderson Dosreis, who had been at the door all night until 1:00 a.m. checking IDs, did not have a Framingham Alcohol server ID and was not registered with the Framingham Police Department; Jessica Prioa, working as a bartender, did not have a Framingham Alcohol server ID and was not registered with the FPD; and Marlin Fiahlo, identified as a promoter, did not have a Framingham Alcohol server ID and was not registered with the FPD.”
During the course of this Alcohol investigation Lt. Jorge E. Ruiz spoke with several members of the Samba West staff who were working on the night that the stabbing had occurred. An interview was conducted of Shiyun Zhang, (also known as Joe Samba who is the owner of Samba Steak House. When asked, Joe identified himself as the manager and Risheng Xu, also known as Sam, as the Assistant Manager. Joe stated that he was the manager on duty the night of the stabbing and that he hired a promoter for that night as well as a security team to maintain order. Joe stated that he had personnel at the front door checking ID’s as well as other security staff posted inside the restaurant and that the Restaurant was 21 and over that evening. Joe was aware that there had been a stabbing in the parking lot as he had been informed by Sgt. Michael Sheehan during the course of the stabbing investigation. Joe was surprised to hear that someone had been assaulted in the parking lot as he had security in the parking lot at the end of the night.
“During a follow up phone conversation, Zhang was asked who Traci N. Simpson was as she was listed as the Manager of Record on the Alcohol license,” according to police.
“Lt. Ruiz had learned that neither the Samba Steak House bartender nor the Framingham Police Department were familiar with Traci. Joe stated that Traci was his wife, that she was the Manager of Record and that Traci does some of the accounting and some Public Relations work for the business. Upon checking the Police in-house records, it was determined that Traci’s Server ID had expired on 02/04/2013. Failure to hold a valid Server ID is a violation,” according to the City’s agreement, Source obtained.
During the investigation, Police also identified that Zhang’s server ID had expired on 05/07/17.
“When advised of this, Joe stated that he had lost his wallet and therefore lost his server ID and did not realize his server ID had expired,” according to the agreement. “Joe stated that he had a valid Alcohol server training certificate and he would get a new Server ID. Joe was informed that the Rules and Regulations Governing Alcoholic Beverages for the City of Framingham required that the Manager must be a full-time employee or a corporate officer of the licensee, must be engaged exclusively in the management of the licensed business, must be a qualified seller or server of alcoholic beverages registered with the Framingham Police Department, and must be on the licensed premises at least forty (40) hours per week in the course of business, consistent with the permitted hours of operation.”
According to the agreement signed, by Zhang, Framingham Police and the City “Joe stated that Traci did work for Samba Steak House, that he was the Manager/owner and that between him and his Assistant Manager (Sam), there was always someone on premises. Joe was re-read the requirements of the Rules and Regulations Governing Alcoholic Beverages for the City of Framingham and asked if Traci was meeting those obligations and if she was on premise the minimum 40 hours per week, Joe replied that “Yes she was”. Joe was cooperative during this investigation and provided information for all of the employees requested.
“As part of this investigation, Lt. Ruiz also contacted the City of Framingham Licensing Coordinator Diane Willoughby and asked the name of the Manager of Record on the All Alcohol Liquor License for Samba Steak House. He was informed that the Manager of Record on the All Alcohol Liquor License was Traci N. Simpson,” according to City documents.
“Lt. Ruiz also spoke with the three Framingham Police Officers who had previously supervised the Licensing Bureau with regards to Traci Simpson: Deputy Chief Ron Brandolini, Deputy Chief Victor Pereira and LT. Harry Wareham. Of the three, only DC Brandolini had a vague recollection of Traci and her being a Manager at Samba Steak House at some point. DC Brandolini also reported that he mainly dealt with Shiyun Zhang, a/kla Joe Samba on all matters concerning the All Alcohol Liquor License. Failure of a Manager to be present on the licensed premises for at least forty hours per week is a violation,” states the agreement between the City and Zhang, and the Police.
Lt. Ruiz also spoke with Ray Bradford, who Zhang identified as the Head of Security for Samba.
Lt. Ruiz learned during his investigation tha while Bradford, who was checking ID’s at the front door, was alcohol server trained and had a City of Framingham server ID card, Wenderson Dosreis who was a member of the hired security teamdid not have his server ID, which was a violation,
As part of the stabbing investigation, Lt. Ruiz “spoke with Marlin Fiahlo who Joe identified as the promoter he had hired on the night of the stabbing. During the conversation, Marlin confirmed that he was a promoter and had been hired by Joe. Marlin also stated that had been working for Samba Steak House for approximately one (1) year. Marlin informed Lt. Ruiz that he had delivered a bottle of Champagne along with approximately 4-6 plastic cups to the party which included the individual who was later stabbed in the parking lot. The bottle was delivered in a bucket of ice and was given to the group as they were celebrating a birthday. Marlin stated that he had not seen the bottle of Champagne popped and did not know anything else that happened as a result of the bottle of Champagne. When asked where he got the bottle of Champagne from, Marlin stated that he had gotten the bottle from the bar. A check of the in house Police records confirmed that Marlin did not have a Framingham Alcohol server ID and was not registered with the Framingham Police Department. Serving alcohol or viewing identification cards without complete an alcoholic beverage server training program which has been approved by the Framingham Police Department is a violation,” states the agreement signed by police, the City of Framingham and the owners of Samba.
The third violation happened on Nov. 19, at about 6:23 p.m.. As part of a city-wide alcohol compliance check, the Framingham Police sent an 18-year old operative into Samba to purchase alcohol at the restaurant.
“Prior to entering the establishment, the underage operative was instructed to attempt to purchase a beer at the bar with a $20.00 bill supplied by the FPD. Shortly after entering Samba, the underage operative notified the FPD via text message that he had ordered, and been served, a bottle of BUD LIGHT beer at the bar by a female bartender,” according to Framingham Police.
As part of the agreement with the City, Samba and its owners agrees to have the current camera system on the premises operational and running on or before August 31, 2019, to be inspected by the Framingham Police on or subsequent to September 1.
As a condition precedent to execution of this Disposition Agreement the license holder shall ensure that all staff requiring server identification cards have obtained current Framingham Alcohol Server identification cards.
Copies of the server identification cards and a list of all employees requiring server identification cards must be provided to the Framingham Police and the Board by July 15, 2019.
The license holder must update these lists and provide updated lists to the Board during the abeyance suspension period on or before December 31, 2019, June 30, 2020, December 31, 2020 and June 24, 2021.
The failure of Licensee to provide a Manager Certification and associated lists will expose the license holder to serving the 14-day abeyance suspension without further appeal by the license holder, according to the agreement.
“The requirement set forth in this subsection 4(a) shall survive and remain fully enforceable even if the City modifies or discontinues the requirement for server identification cards in any future amendment of the Framingham Alcohol Rules and Regulations,’ states the agreement.
Samba owner Zhang, who also owns China Gourmet, which closed earlier this month after issues with the City of Framingham. It is awaiting re-inspection to re-open.