Update: January 9, 2012
George’s diner was re-inspected today by the city health inspector. Two inspectors were sent, and the restaurant was allowed to re-open. George’s will be open for normal business tomorrow. A letter grade will be assigned after a follow up inspection is made.
Owner Bill Koulmentas said, “It is not common for a restaurant to be re-opened this fast…(we received), a lot of positive verbal feedback (on the BatteryPark.TV story) from throughout Battery Park City. Thank you very much for all that you have done.”
January 7, 2012 By Steven Greer, MD
George’s diner on Greenwich Street and Rector Street, south of the World Trader Center, was shut down by the New York City Health Department on Friday, January 6th. The original restaurant had to be demolished after the WTC disaster of September 11th, 2001, and was reopened in a newly constructed building in 2005.
We interviewed the owner, Bill Koulmentas, to learn why the restaurant was shut down. We could not contact the health department.
According to Mr. Koulmentas, and iPhone video supporting his story, a female health inspector stopped by approximately two weeks ago and found some violations. He felt that the inspector was aggressive and had an agenda to find violations no matter what. On Friday, January 6th, a male inspector arrived unannounced at 9:30 AM and inspected until 2:30 PM.
During the inspection on the 6th, Mr. Koulmentas felt that the inspector was “rigging” the inspection, claiming cockroaches were found that did not exist, that the refrigerator did not work when it did, etc. He pulled out his iPhone and began to videotape the inspector. At this point, the inspector began to become irritated. Mr. Koulmentas believes that the closure of his restaurant was due to his filming the health inspector and disputing his findings.
The health inspector closed the restaurant on the spot, at 2:30 PM, January 6th. It is unknown what will happen next and when the restaurant might be allowed to reopen.
The new letter grading system instituted by Mayor Bloomberg has been very controversial. Newspaper reports have insinuated that the process is rife with corruption, and was adopted simply as a way to increase revenues for the city in the form of fines. Many restaurant owners feel that the grades assigned are completely arbitrary, and Mr. Koulmentas’ filmed experience certainly adds credence to those theories.
If you are a restaurant owner and have experienced similar problems with the health department, BatteryPark.TV wants to know about it. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org