Black-Owned Restaurant Struggles To Pay More Than $100K In Damages Following Vandalism

Black woman-owned restaurant Winnie’s International Takeout is receiving no restitution for damages after a group of suspects described as “thugs” vandalized the location.

Twimonisha Mason, owner of the soul food restaurant in Massapequa, New York, has been hard at work trying to open the location since 2019, according to the GoFundMe page set up by Taisha Mason.

“For everyone wondering why we haven’t opened yet, we have been dealing with a few setbacks,” a statement read on Winnie’s Instagram page.

She has been unable to open because the restaurant was vandalized several times.

According to a GoFundMe page, the perpetrators left Twimonisha with over $100,000 in damages since she moved her business from its previous location in Long Island’s Amityville Village. To add to the issue, the store’s $2 million insurance policy only covered $5,000 worth of damages “due to a clause on page 87,” the fundraising page states. All other costs are coming out of the owner’s pocket.

Multiple videos have been posted to the restaurant’s social media page, including one that shows the young vandals’ parents, whose information was not released to Twimonisha by police.

“They refused to give us the parents’ information, so we couldn’t sue them either,” the fundraiser page included from the video’s Instagram caption.

The restaurant posted a video showing the dumpster crowded with debris from the vandalism at its Sunrise Highway location, including a tree stump allegedly dumped onto their property, another cost that had to be paid out of pocket. In the video, two young vandals are seen climbing from the restaurant’s roof.

The takeout restaurant has been hit before by intruders, which caused the owner to spend thousands of dollars on previous repairs.

“The fact that the first kids got off with just trespassing when they should have been charged with vandalism is the reason these thugs keep coming back time and time again,” the caption read.

Taisha launched the GoFundMe for Winnie’s International Takeout to collect funds for repairs and to keep the restaurant running as they work to “hire an attorney to fight Nassau County police department on the mishandling of the crimes against the store.”

The Mason family also claims members have been “stopped and harassed” by police over 15 times at the location. According to the Masons, they are beginning to feel like their lives are in danger but remain resilient in seeking justice.

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