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Owner of Fast Gourmet Responds To Recent Closure

by Prince Of Petworth March 6, 2017 at 12:30 pm 47 Comments

fast gourmet

Lina Chovil comments on Fast Gourmet’s closure at 14th and W St, NW:

“For you that do not know the full story. The Brothers embezzled over $60k in 2012 to open up their Takeateasy joint. After only a year of being open we where at a loss due to the embezzlement the Oliveras did, the legal expense it took to remove them from the business. Not only did they cause our financial ruin but the family completely broke apart. And on top of that ABC forgot to mention why the payments arrangement was not honored. The rape of Lina Chovil on May 27th 2015 after leaving Mesa14 and only mention the debt amount with out any explanation of the fact. The DC treasure new about this but yet they decided to not care.. after I was hospitalized they took our licenses away and pushed us to male payments promising to give us our license back. Well they never honored their promise. That’s why we stopped selling cigarettes etc in the convenience store.

A restaurant was trying to maintain two business. The convenience store and the restaurant.

So there for those of you who ask why we did not pay our taxes. Blame the Oliveras and the individual that raped the managing partner.

Just letting you know what really happened.

The only one going to court is the rapist.

We cant sue the government, and well the Oliveras we decided not to pursue them criminally back in 2012 due to Juan’s son, we truly cared for his family.

Don’t worry We will be back sooner than you think.

Happy Eating!!”

Ed. Note: I was told via email that they will contact me when they have more details on coming back.

  • anon

    is there an English version?

    • Bloomy

      ^unnecessary comment.

    • Anon


    • northeazy

      I am a Trump supporter and pretty decidedly not politically correct, but that was a rude comment. You probably speak zero foreign languages much less could you move to a new country and open a successful business. Could you even run a business in your mother tongue?

      • FridayGirl

        I agree. I know I don’t always agree with you northeazy, but you tell ’em!

      • Picky in Petworth

        What does being a Trump supporter have to do with anything here?

        • On Capital Heels

          In an ideal world, nothing at all. But I’d take it to mean that he’s not an equal opportunity offender. Rather he, like Trump, is intentionally discriminatory in his lack of political correctness, and reserves the wrath of his disdain and judgment for only certain types of people.


    • Reality

      Who cares if English is the second language, you understood what was being conveyed.

    • Guillermo Brown

      I read this comment as “is there an English version because this makes no sense, logically,” not “is there an English version because I can’t understand these damn foreigners.” I mean, the post goes from 0 to 60 and assumes the reader knows all kinds of actors and backstory. Everyone needs to chill out with the hyper political correctness on this blog. Don’t forget, this is a comment section. On the internet

      • Anon

        Please. It’s not hyper political correctness. The post is understandable, whether you agree with its sentiment or not.

        • Guillermo Brown

          How is this post understandable without knowing who these people are? Takeeateasy? The Brothers? Oliveras? The rape of…? Agree to disagree, Anon, but if you’re not following every development in this saga, this story is just confusing.

  • Elkhaert

    I mean… that all sounds horrible, but you still have to pay your taxes. First, I don’t really see from a logic standpoint how you can decide not to pursue someone for embezzlement but then also say that embezzlement is a reason to not pay your taxes. If you want a theft go, you don’t then get to tell other people you cannot pay them because you were stolen from. By not pursuing it, you are basically calling it a gift.
    Second, while I am sympathetic to Ms. Chovil (being raped is terrible and no one should ever have to go through it) I’m pretty sure Fast Gormet is an LLC (DC Gourmet LLC, I believe). That means it is a separate entity. You get protection from personal financial ruin if it goes under, but that also means it doesn’t get all the equity defenses an individual would, DC Gourmet is not Mr. Chovil. Legally, it is its own “person.” The assets should be separate so medical costs of an owner don’t matter to the LLC (insurance should cover it, and any additional copay is a personal expense and cannot come out of the company), and while having an important employee out is a problem, the company should have contingencies to cover for any individual working for it.
    Maybe I am just a heartless lawyer, but this doesn’t persuade me.

    • Elkhaert

      Ms.* not Mr.

      • Jen

        I am also a lawyer and I have quite a bit of experience in corporate debt collection. In the vast majority of situations involving employee embezzlement, the stolen money is never recovered. By the time the owners figure out what happened, the money is long gone and the thief is judgment proof. Fast Gourmet can spend additional money hiring an attorney and filing suit against the Oliveras, but that decision could easily increase their debts with nothing to show for it but an uncollectable judgment. In my opinion, it is not fair to say that declining to pursue a lawsuit is tantamount to giving a “gift” to the Oliveras. There are many situations when it makes practical/financial sense not to file suit, even if you have a strong claim. This may be one of them.

        • Elkhaert

          Sure… but I wasn’t talking about a civil suit. I’m talking about them choosing not to go forward with a criminal case. They don’t pay for prosecution of a criminal case, the DC government (or federal, depending) does. If they “decided not to persue [sic] them criminally back in 2012 due to Juans son” because “[they] trully [sic] cared for his family,” that is not making a decision because the judgment is uncollectable. Outside of the legal realm, I personally don’t see how someone can both wave the theft because of a personal connection, but then also try to argue to the government they cannot pay due to theft.
          Say you are in school and you lend your friend $50. That friend then has that $50 stolen by their cousin. Is it ok for them to both tell you they won’t pay you back because their cousin stole it, but also refuse to go to a teacher because they don’t want to get their cousin in trouble? For me personally, its not. You either take responsibility for your personal debt in the loan and pay the $50 back regardless, or you say you can’t but do whatever you can to help get the money back by appealing to the authorities (in this case the school).

          • Elkhaert

            I’ll add as a disclaimer, I don’t work in this area of law at all. So it’s not a legal opinion, I was referencing my lawyerness only with respect to what I am afraid is my heartlessness.

          • Anonymous

            I think it is the state (dc or feds) that gets to decide whether to pursue this criminally (presuming the crime was reported). So I assume she means pursue them civilly for the consequences of their crimes.

          • Anon

            Not necessarily. If the victim of a crime says they don’t want to pursue, the gov’t usually won’t (unless there is some special societal interest, e.g., DV cases). Think about it. If the victim says they don’t want to pursue (i.e., won’t be cooperative), then who are the prosecution’s witnesses at trial?

          • Anon

            Sure, the prosecution will take into account cooperativeness in deciding whether to prosecute. But it’s not the victims decision.

    • FridayGirl

      + a thousand to “First, I don’t really see from a logic standpoint how you can decide not to pursue someone for embezzlement but then also say that embezzlement is a reason to not pay your taxes.”

      • Dognonymous

        Particularly when 60k was embezzled, and the taxes owed are 330k. There’s a really big delta there. I don’t really understand this, but I hope they can get it all sorted out.

    • MadMax

      I can imagine the number of restaurants / bars operating in DC without some sort of drama / problem are few and far between, yet many of them thrive in spite of them. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to live through any of the allegations she makes, those are pretty severe, but as you state you shouldn’t let your work and your personal problems become so inextricably linked.

  • Huh?

    I read this three times and have no idea what it means.

    • Mike

      Same. But read it as a Monet, not a Rockwell.

      • Anon

        Very harsh, but very funny.

    • Anonymous

      Yes you do.

      • Huh? part 2

        No, I really don’t. There are a lot of maybe-related-somehow-but-not-clearly-explained allegations; a lot of sentences that are frankly incoherent; a lot of assumptions about what background we have in these various issues; and a lot of allegations stated as fact and used to support other allegations stated as fact. All I really know is that Fast Gourmet is closing, apparently due to non-payment of taxes, and the author claims several other alleged events somehow are related, but it isn’t clear how or why.

        • Hill Denizen

          Agreed. The writer talks about the rape, but I’m not really sure what that has to do with not being able to pay taxes. Is it debilitating emotional trauma? Medical bills? Also not clear how the embezzling of $60k leads to owing over $300k. There might be totally legitimate explanations for how these things are related but they’re not mentioned in the letter.

        • Anon

          You don’t have to agree with the post or feel it’s not excuse-making. But saying you don’t understand it is silly. You are obviously literate. Attack it on the merits, fine; but saying you don’t understand something in less than perfect English when it is in fact understandable is cheap, easy, and lame.

          • Anon

            I’m neither the previous poster nor illiterate, and I have no idea what this post says. I get the gist, but not the story..

  • Craig

    I am not sure that airing this in the court of public opinion helps their situation much.

  • W Street Resident

    As someone who lives on this block, I am sad to see this happen.

    On another note, can someone please let me know who to contact to make sure that Fast Gourmet’s overflowing dumpster is not left that way while they figure out their next move? It has been overflowing for at least a week and it was still overflowing as of this morning even though nothing was added to it over the weekend due to their closure. We don’t need anymore rats in the area as it is.

    • KBT


  • Anon

    I’m very confused. I’m treading lightly here bc there are some sensitive issues at play (rape, language barrier), but something tells me that there may be different sides to this story.
    Why, for example, would they have a claim against the government if the gov’t could be sued?
    How did a horrible (but unrelated to the business) crime against a partner personally cause the business to fail to pay taxes?
    What does poor Mesa 14 have to do with this? Were they involved somehow, or did that just happen to be the place the woman was leaving?

    • Hill Denizen

      I also tend to get immediately suspicious (whether its merited or not) when someone puts all of the blame on other people or circumstances but none on themselves. At the end of the day, taxes have to be paid, and you can’t begrudge someone for doing their job. It would be one thing if they said “we’re genuinely trying to meet our tax obligations and regret not taking earlier action against our partner, but we just aren’t capable of doing more…” As is, it just reeks of defensiveness.

      • Anon

        Agreed. I sympathize so much more when people just own it. “At the end of the day, it was our responsibility to pay taxes. Unfortunately, we encountered some obstacles that we did not anticipate and we could not overcome. But we learned from the experience, and hope to come back better and stronger in the future.” I’d sympathize so much more, than with “It’s everyone else’s fault, including the government.”
        Maybe these other events compounded a bad situation, but considering we are taking about a 5 year span and several unrelated events by different people – it’s highly unlikely the managers share no part of the blame here.

    • Anonymous

      My read is that the business had reached some kind of deal with the DC government whereby the business would get (or keep) whatever licenses were necessary to operate in exchange for paying back taxes, but the government failed to honor this deal. No idea whether that actually happened but that is my take on what the person who wrote the piece is alleging.
      As to whether a personal tragedy can affect a business, I am sure that it can. It’s possible that pouring your attention into helping a loved one recover from a violent attack did not leave much attention for the business. I’m not going to question how these folks dealt with a personal tragedy. It’s not my place to do so. Ultimately, the writer admits that the real issue with the taxes was the loss of the money that was embezzled.

  • Anon X

    Damn. People on this website are extremely inconsistent. I cant figure it out, are we pro-immigrant and against victim-blaming? Often times I get annoyed with the devolution of the comments into discussing whether misplaced advice is patriarchal and victim-blaming – but damn, this go around seems ridiculous.

    This is a ESOL situation and someone who is saying that shit went down hill because they were the victims of thievery and one the victim of rape.

    Have some compassion and check your “I know everything because my best friend is a lawyer” attitude at the door.

    • FridayGirl

      For me personally (I won’t speak for others), I am pro-immigrant and against victim-blaming but when someone publicly airs their grievances and blames others for them not paying taxes — well, yes, that does suck, and I can feel for the individual(s) involved — BUT I can also simultaneously be non-sympathetic towards the owners for not fulfilling their legal obligations as a business owner. This is something they should have seen coming and tried to figure out much, much sooner through the proper channels (which it appears they may not have).

      • MadMax

        Yeah, as in most of these stories, sympathy towards mitigating factors isn’t mutually exclusive to accountability for underlying problems.

    • lizcolleena

      So we should just take everyone’s word that they’re a victim? How do you even define it then? I’m not trying to be antagonistic, I’m genuinely unsure how anyone could read the OP’s note and commenters’ responses and come away with victim-blaming.
      And BTW, the reason I like this site is because there are a lot of knowledgeable, critical thinkers as commenters who aren’t just going to accept a shady, weird situation because someone wrote in presenting it as fact.

      • MadMax

        +1 to your second sentiment.

  • 10thSt

    To Lina: I’m sorry that you’ve lost your business on top of going through so much. It must be really painful. No one should have to suffer that. Thank you for all of the happiness and great food you brought to our little corner of DC. Sending love and peace. Cheering for you and your next endeavor.

  • Eli

    So they had an agreement to offset back taxes from future payments, then lost their most profitable line of business when cigarette license was revoked. The plan went to hell. They were not able to produce that sum of money from anywhere else. On top of that, the family business was fractured by embezzlement and one partner was horrifically raped.
    Can other posters really say that they would not close if they were in fast gourmet’s shoes? I would.

    • Anon

      They should hire you as spokesperson. Seriously.

  • Manuel Olivera

    My name is Manuel and I am one of the “Olivera brothers.” Allegations made by this person about me and my family are absolutely false. However, it is not in my or my family’s interest to partake in any back-and-forth exchange over media or the internet.
    As a frequent reader of the Prince of Petworth blog, I believe good ethics in writing means making a sincere effort to reach to all parties before posting material that could potentially affect the personal and professional relations for the people involved. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

    • FridayGirl

      Dun dun dunnnnn……


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