The owner of the former Tannery and Tannery Outlet on Boylston Street this week admitted he systematically barred and verbally attacked potential customers because of their race and national origin and agreed to never again operate "a public accommodation" in Massachusetts.
Hicham "Sam" Ali Hassan also agreed to pay $110,000 in restitution and payments to anti-discrimination and racial justice programs, according to the state Attorney General's office, which says his years of being a racist who refused to serve people because of their skin color or national origin violated the state public-accommodations and consumer-protection laws. He actually agreed to pay $220,000, but half the payment is suspended and will be forgiven if he makes the first payment.
The state sued Hassan in 2018 charging that Hassan would stand at the entrance and bar Blacks from the store and, ironically, given his own background, harass or scream at would-be customers he felt were from the Middle East. Hassan had closed the Tannery in 2016.
Among the examples cited in the state's complaint in Suffolk Superior Court was an incident involving a woman of Middle Eastern descent looking for some shoes with her 8-year-old daughter:
Mr. Hassan then turned toward Ms. Mansour and began speaking to her in a mock Arabic accent, saying, "Get out of here. I don't have anything for you here. Go back to your country and clean and cook mgadara." (Mgadara, also known as "mujaddara," is a traditional Middle Eastern dish.)
After Trump's election, Hassan added that man's name to his repertoire. In one case, a woman of Colombian descent was browsing boots and asked Hassan about a particular pair. He demanded to know where she was from. "I am from here, I live in the area," she said. "No, where are you from?" he insisted. When she said "Cambridge," he blew his top, the state said:
"I don't have them and if I did they would cost 3 million dollars.” Ms. Ariza was confused and asked Mr. Hassan to clarify. Instead,
he turned to another customer and proclaimed, "I love Trump! I am glad he is going to get rid of all the immigrants because I do not trust immigrants!" Mr. Hassan continued to talk about his distrust of immigrants, at which point Ms. Ariza decided she no longer wanted the shoes. As she was about to exit the store, Mr. Hassan shouted to her, "Get out of here! We don't want you here! I don't trust your people!"
Before both closed, Hassan had two stores on Boylston Street - the main Tannery at Exeter Street and an outlet store in the long crumbling old eyesore of a building that he owned at 400 Boylston St., between Berkeley and Arlington.
Complete state complaint (1.7M PDF).
Settlement agreement (417k PDF).