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Racist barred from ever opening a store in Massachusetts again for the way he treated Blacks, others in his Back Bay stores

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).

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Comments

For many years there was a store called the Tannery on Brattle Street in Harvard Square. I thought I heard once that there was a connection between it and the ones in Boston. Can anyone verify that, or not?

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And his nephew, who worked there, is currently suing him over that store.

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He had the Tannery under the Gap and he had Concepts focused on sneaker culture around the corner. I always hated doing business with the Tannery because they never paid their bills on time and would kind of just do whatever they wanted and cause a scene. I remember planning events and it was my job to harrass them to get an application in to participate... They never would... And then on the day of the event they would just take the spot they wanted even if there was someone assigned to the spot. It was an absolute nightmare. We would have to chase them for payment , often it ended up being cash literally on the street.

I heard so many stories and I always just wondered why people put up with this sort of behavior

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They use the same business model.

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He actually agreed to pay $220,000, but half the payment is suspended and will be forgiven if he makes the first payment.

It hardly sounds like he's destitute. Even the $220k is low. In cases like this the fine should be a sizable percentage of the person's net worth.

That said, I am happy Massachusetts followed through with a case. In other states politicians would be rushing to defend his "freedom" and claiming it's impossible for someone with a foreign background to be racist.

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Voting closed 45

If he doesn't pay anything, the cost to go after him for the fine count mount up pretty quickly. It's probably cost effective to provide this kind of incentive to pay and get it over with. Besides, he's the kind of scumbag who probably won't pay the half payment anyway.

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Voting closed 23

Forget the fine - does he own that nice building he's allowed to fall apart? just take that away from him - would be lovely if restores.

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This guy was the absolute worse! In high school we used to psych ourselves up and literally have our cash in hand so we wouldn’t be followed around and stalked by him. The only reason we went is because they had the most diverse (LOL) stock of Uggs, Sperrys and Hunter boots

Edit: Also, the extreme assimilation is scary. It’s prevalent in every minority group in America for sure but sheesh, this guy is nuts.

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Voting closed 46

At the tip of your consumerist desires.

The hell with him, you're far more American than he is.

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We were juniors in high school spending our money from our after school jobs. Get a grip, doofus.

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Then your parents are mediocre for not teaching you not to overspend on a depreciable asset.

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My parents taught me responsibility and that it’s okay to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I’m assuming your parents didn’t teach you to be a pretentious a*shole who worries about what teens do and yet, here we are.

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My parents taught me responsibility and that it’s okay to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I’m assuming your parents didn’t teach you to be a pretentious a*shole who worries about what teens do and yet, here we are.

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Going after someone’s parents, unprovoked?

What appreciating assets did your parents have you buy with your high school job money? How much of your current-day net worth do said assets account for?

Most of us are guilty of occasional bad takes here, but lashing out at someone’s parents because a teenager once did innocuous teenager stuff? Get a grip.

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Did everyone wake up this morning and decide to be extra awful?

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Give him the boot!

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I used to buy his closeout Ecco's in the branch up past Berkeley St. all the time and he would give me a great deal - he was always very friendly and loved to chat - treated me and my family with nothing but the utmost respect. But now I guess that was just because I'm a big white guy. It's amazing that he was treating so many others like crap, yet people like me honestly never had a clue.

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So a middle-eastern immigrant store owner doesn't like people of middle-eastern decent in his store, calling them immigrants?

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No need to expect them to start soon.

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Racism, sexism, ageism, classism are all insidious.
Anyone can internalize that kind of hate.

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So a middle-eastern immigrant store owner...

I don't see anything saying he is an immigrant. Not everyone with a middle-eastern-sounding name is one; I know several such people who were born here.

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There was a Boston Magazine article about this guy a couple years ago that mentions it.

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Beirut*

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It has long been known that this guy was nuts. He and his staff harassed customers for years. How he managed to stay in business as long as he did is a mystery on par with how Radio Shack managed to last as long as it did.

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Radio Shack had useful stuff.

I think they would have done better if they hadn't tried to reinvent themselves.

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When they decided to stop being an electronic-hobbyist store and become a phone store, it was over. The hobbyist market may have been small, but there wasn't much competition. Phone stores were legion.

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Of course this guy loves Trump. They are both failed business owners with a lot of debt.

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This guy is a millionaire just off the sales from Hunter boots on a rainy weekend.

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Now I know why.

The tree that was growing out of the upper floor balcony was very cool though.

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This guy was one of my first--and worst--bosses. I quit after a week and a half of his tantrums (which at that time he saved for employees once customers were out the door). This almost makes me believe in karma, though it took nearly four decades. His brother whom I worked with at one of the other stores, was a nice guy and am thinking the nephew who is suing is probably his son.

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