Reader Pat alerted me to Department of Health problems at Sam Wang Produce (300 Block of Morse, in the Florida Market) that were discovered just before Christmas. Titan of Trinidad first broke the story, and has posted the list of violations (which include rats, freezers issues, and a lack of hand washing). Another key element of this story is that Vincent Orange, and an unnamed Councilmember (who may also be Vincent Orange) intervened on behalf of Sang Oh Choi. Mr. Choi is the owner of Sam Wang Produce. He is also a repeat contributor to Vincent Orange's campaign. If his name sounds especially familiar, it may be because he was sort of the man with the plan behind the New Town redevelopment proposal (originally introduced by, and strongly supported by, Vincent Orange). While the New Town proposal ultimately failed (for a variety of reasons), Mr. Choi is currently partnering with Edens (who redeveloped the DC Farmers Market into Union Market) to build on the former US Beef parcel located at 4th and Florida Ave.
Anyway, an inspector shows up, notes the violations, and attempts to shut down the grocery store (which is oddly, referred to as a restaurant in the Washington City Paper article). Mystery Councilmember appears and pressures the inspector, even contacting her superior. A bit more wrangling ensued, but the store was eventually closed. At this point Vincent Orange's office intervened to assist Sam Wang in getting an expedited re-inspection to they could open promptly. Channel 9's Russ Ptacek showed up at Sam Wang following the successful re-inspection, and photographed live rats.