The MoCo Conservative has received information from Ashley Mouktafi, co-owner of Clarksburg Tavern LLC, who believes she is the target of retaliatory measures from the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Department for filing a lawsuit to keep her business afloat and offer jobs to help end systemic discrimination the County is subjugating minority residents to experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Examples of the alleged intimidation tactics reported by the owners within the last week include:
- The appearance of a Montgomery County government-owned vehicle and a MCPD cruiser in the dining establishment’s back parking lot for about 35 minutes. The occupants of both cars never came out of their vehicles while parking on private property. Mouktafi believes that this incident was an intimidation tactic to arouse fear and anxiety in her, Clarksburg Tavern staff, and patrons of the dining establishment.
- The Licensure and Regulatory Division of the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Department sending an inspection report citing a non-existent violation claiming that owners and immediate family are not able to “sit and eat or drink” on premises (no such law or code exists). Mouktafi claims that the County “wants to fast track our warnings to get to the fines.” As of this article, the Licensure and Regulatory Division of the County Department of Health and Human Services has redacted the report and warning, after failing to acknowledge there is an ongoing lawsuit regarding this very matter in the County’s circuit court system.
- A mentally unstable, non-compliant individual (not a customer) aggressively walked into the dining establishment, threw a mask at one of the owners, and called the owner a “murderer.”
- The staff took a telephone order for ten entrees and two appetizers that was a no-show. When the call-back number was dialed and connected to the initial caller, the customer had no intention of purchasing the food and subsequently told the owner, “I hope you die of COVID.”
Mouktafi – a single mother of two young, school-age children who co-owns Clarksburg Tavern with her mother, Janice Allen – had this to say about the situation:
As a self-identifying female small business owner and single mother, I have had to work through the institutional patriarchy that is inherent within the business community and hospitality industry. I love and appreciate the diversity of my customers, community, and staff. What I don’t love is being strong-armed by a tyrannical male like County Executive Marc Elrich and being forced to lay off almost all of my employees, who rely on a paycheck to help break through the systemic, socio-economic institutional racism affecting communities in Montgomery County and the country.
Threatening me only exacerbates the problem. These intimidation tactics have caused undue stress to my staff and me, and I plan on taking additional legal action against those entities that are taking retaliatory measures against me.
Community and county-wide problems require community and county-wide solutions from residents, not just bureaucrats who don’t understand what it’s like living from paycheck to paycheck and who have never owned a small business as a single mother. I take my business and the health of my patrons and staff very seriously; it’s time that the local government does the same.