NYC restaurants accused of buying FAKE ‘A’ grades to fool patrons

Posted at 10:11 AM, Sep 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-27 10:11:58-04

Foodies beware. The city has busted a couple of food scams that could affect you. You know that letter grade like A,B, or Pending in the window of the restaurant you’ve been tempted to try?  It might be bogus.

Some restaurants might not be as clean as the sanitation grades in the windows say they are. The city Department of Investigation says they have arrested Anastasios Kountis, a letter grade “expediter.” Kountis  was charged with distributing fake letter grade cards to nine restaurants.  The eateries are located in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

The 32-year-old Staten Islander could do jail time if he’s convicted.  He faces forgery and other charges. On 8th Avenue, frequent diner Lance Columbo told PIX11, “I think it’s ridiculous.  I think its a big thing to have the grades on there.” He added, “If it was a C I wouldn’t be going in there.” Mike Morely told us, “It’s a shame. You put your trust in the eateries of New York City and to hear something like that, it doesn’t do anything to inspire any kind of confidence.”

In another case, two men are under arrest for trying to bribe an undercover Department of Investigations inspector posing as a food inspector. They wanted to make violations go away.  Investigators say it happened at the Masala Junction Restaurant on West 48th.  The investigator says he told the men the restaurant was going to fail it’s inspection because they had violations and they offered him $100.00 in cash to make the violations disappear.

Those men face jail time as well.