Restaurant owning couple cops plea in federal court Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Sep 10, 2011 at 10:24 am
A Pleasanton restaurateur couple has pleaded guilty to immigration, Social Security and tax evasion at their Bay Area restaurant chain, El Balazo, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced. Marino Sandoval, 58, and his wife, Nicole Sandoval, 50, were arrested last November on charges that they hired illegal aliens, misused employees' Social Security numbers and engaged in tax fraud between 2003 and 2005.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, September 10, 2011, 7:09 AM
Posted by JOE, a resident of the Civic Square neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2011 at 11:01 am
All restaurant owners. Let that be a lesson to you. When the union thug cops come into your establishment, always give them free food. Otherwise they'll start messing with you. Without the free food handouts, we'd all be shut down!
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Siena neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm
Ya know, ever since Buttercup Pantry closed down and this place went in, things just haven't been the same. I wish I knew the story behind why the Buttercup closed. That place had awesome breakfasts and I never had a bad meal there. El Balazo is a dump, and I went in once and once was enough. I am definitely a "never again" customer. Man how I wish they'd bring back the Buttercup. There is one in Oakland near Jack London Square, but I don't know if that is related to the one that we used to have here in town.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm
B, you can't be serious, or you can't be taken seriously. Which tea party members started any war and how exactly do you tax a war, even if it was approved by both parties? Now we know wht the b stands for...it rhymes with tube.
Posted by Thruth, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm
I truly hope you never get t-boned by an illegal alien who is driving home from work with no drivers license and then runs as you sit in your totaled car. There are bigger issues here...not the cops. Sounds like rehabilitation in prison did not work for you either...maybe you should get your GED or learn a trade......perhaps underwater welding?
Posted by Mac, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 8:50 am
Yes, there are other restaurants doing similar things. In particular, another mexican restaurant in P-town, who for the past decade has been paying teens under the table, employing undocumented workers, and falsifying records.
For that matter, there is a local roofer doing the same exact thing! I know personally, as he hired a foster son of mine and I got to see first hand how he paid his help, and how those that were undocumented had to yield to whatever he felt he should pay, and whenever he felt he'd like to pay it.
It is a sad example for businesses to function illegally, but I suppose it is no different than corporations. From the biggest to the smallest. Fraud and greed.
Posted by Stan, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 9:48 am
We often ate at El Balazo and loved it. One time an old guy sitting next to us feigned to get food poisoning shortly after he lashed out at the dishwasher for not knowing English, but we all laughed at him.
Posted by Leon, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 10:11 am
That they hired illegal aliens don't bother me any. I hire them to do work in my yard and on my house all the time. I pick them up outside of walmart. Why should I hire union labor at a higher rate? I'm just a poor hardworking taxpayer trying to make ends meet while I'm being bled to death by the unions.
What really gets MY dander up is that the Sandovals lied on their tax forms. That is truely unconscienceable. That is something I would never ever do. Ever.
Posted by Lamar, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm
What gets my knickers in a twist is that even though the owners had hired illegal alien workers, were cheating on their taxes and also paying others under the table they still had the NERVE to charge almost $8 for a regular burrito that resembled a cucumber wrapped in foil!
Greed knows no boundaries and definitely tastes like day old carne asada.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm
Now, now, now, Lamar. Let's not bite the hand that feeds us. You want to criticize public workers, you go right ahead lil buddy. But let's back off from our heroic job creators (who've ALL hired an illegal worker or two in their day). Greed is a good thing when it happens in the private sector, didn't you know? Get your priorities straight.
Posted by Stan, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm
Yeah, Nancy, I've probably driven back and forth past their compound twenty times over the past couple days. (Was that you with the high-powered binoculars?) I got to admit I'm a little bit envious. I kinna see them as martyrs. After all, they were heroic job creators until they got caught. Still, they got away with it for years. I guess I'd rather see the money in their pockets than in some Washington DC bureaucrat's job program.
I realize they were hiring over 100 illegals. But the way I look at it, that's 100 illegals I didn't have to compete with in trying to get one of those prized walmart positions as shelf stocker.
And doesn't the state have anything better to do than raid heroic job creating businesses? I bet the feds were slipped inside information from the unions.
Posted by Trevor, a resident of Livermore, on Sep 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm
Exactly. If the butcher is selling contaminated meat, the market will let him know about it soon enough. Autism-causing chemicals in the tuna? Let the market decide. Those tuna will soon find themselves without a net. And what about the kids with autism? Their parents can sue. ONe of my professors never tired of telling us that lawsuits are better than laws. Think about it. It's easier to peddle a bicycle with the wind at your back than when it's in your face.
Posted by Trevor, a resident of Livermore, on Sep 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm
Exactly Mike! Law is not a moral issue; and cops shutting down a place because it is breaking the law isn't a moral issue, it's a case of market trumping morality. The cops just probably didn't like the food, and it was in their capacity as consumers that they felt compelled to step in.
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. It will soon be here. Always, except if you're one of the unlucky ones who steps in front of a truck.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm
We aren't talking about the law. We're talking about the relationship between the market and morality.
The consumer public had nothing at all against the restaurant's employment practices, as evidenced by its continued patronage. If the market were guided by morality, then the restaurant would have shut down due to lack of business long before the feds got involved.
Posted by b, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm
Oh, that's right. I'd forgotten. The TEA Party folks have disclaimed all responsibility for George W. Bush. Fail? OK, let's reboot and pretend like it never happened! We'll blame anyone and everyone else for all that debt. More tax evasion, er, tax cuts for everyone!
Posted by Consumer, AND I VOTE, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 10:17 pm
Mike is sooooooo right. The law is not a matter of morality. Like he says, law is an expression of consumer confidence. When legislators legislate law, they are legislating cutting edge consumer satisfaction surveys. Like Civil Rights legislation. It was based on some back issues of Consumer Reports magazine. Thanks to Mike for shedding so much sunshine on this matter. He seems like a really reasonable fellow. As one of my old professors once told me, Don't count your chickens before they leave the hatchery.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm
My goodness. I'm afraid you have misread my post. I did not write that law was an expression of consumer confidence. I wrote that the restaurant enjoyed consumer support despite what some claim are immoral practices, which supports the claim that the market trumps morality.
Some might even argue that the law exists precisely because the market lacks morality.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:36 am
Indeed, the feds shut the place down; but that doesn't alter the fact that the consumer public had no problem with the restaurant, either its product or its practices. If the market were moral, then the consumer public would have withheld its patronage. Again, the market trumps morality.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 7:12 am
No, actually, the market trumps morality not because I say it does but because people can generally be counted on to abandon morality in a heartbeat if it costs them anything in terms of money or convenience.
Posted by Angus, a resident of another community, on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Customers patronizing a business condone illegal practices of business owners? Really? I dare say most of us are completely unaware of the operating practices or ethics of a purveyor of food.
Few of us ever investigate the restaurant we frequent. Frankly, the proprietor would not likely share the details of his operation with a customer. As to the Tea party having a hand in this....my god how absurdly oriented is that mind? The business made the choice to violate the law, and for whatever reason have been exposed. Not only has this establisment engaged in illegal practices, they have operated a business that attracts a less than savory night time client base. They have been raided by the Alcohol and Beverage folks, and fined for violating liquor laws, did the Tea Party conspire to effect this too? They are less than upright merchants, that got caught. No more, no less.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Angus makes a fair point, I should think: "Customers patronizing a business condone illegal practices of business owners? Really? I dare say most of us are completely unaware of the operating practices or ethics of a purveyor of food."
What I meant to say is that the market trumps morality unless the public is fully informed about the facts --- such as all the immoral or illegal practices of the offender. Then, saying markets trump morality would be nonsense. And before you claim I am changing my view, I am, and I have that right. I am law-abiding just like everyone else.
Posted by M, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Earlier you read "No, actually, the market trumps morality not because I say it does but because people can generally be counted on to abandon morality in a heartbeat if it costs them anything in terms of money or convenience."
I hereby stand corrected: the above should read "_I_ can generally be counted on to abandon my inadequately developed morality in a heartbeat it I stand to gain money or convenience."
Posted by EMike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm
Agnus, the creepy poster who posts under my name, and M:
Because of its existence as an often hotly-debated topic over the past few years, especially in political discussion, I would argue a general awareness among the population that certain businesses engage in illegal employment practices. Therefore, the claim of ignorance about the practice might be interpreted as obtuse or feigned rather than actual unawareness.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm
... and I would desire to accumulate some ostentatious displayals of approval by the general public after it took me so long to compose the above. Obtuse unawareness is a term my teachers taught me when I was at college. steve, where are you hiding Stacey?
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm
Creepy Poster Posting Under My Name:
The consumer public kept the restaurant in the black despite its disregard for the law.
When it comes to the market, it's wallets over warrants. Check around the construction and landscaping industries for more examples of how the consumer public is more concerned with money than morality.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm
Sorry. I didn't mean to resort to ad hominems. Nor do I know if the restaurant was operating in the black. It probably wasn't. But then, I don't know a lot about a whole lot of stuff. I just pretend I do. I get most of my orders from STacey and steve.
Posted by Stella, a resident of the Carriage Gardens neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2011 at 1:15 am
Mike, Ad hominem attacks are indicative of gutteral taste. I understand if you can't address the issues, but resort to ad hominems just shows your weakness. See some of the posts by steve who talks a lot about ad hominems. Where is he, anyway?