Fields Corner’s Sam’s Spot’s license suspended; after-hours parties cited

After a string of early-morning after-hours parties last spring at Sam’s Spot caterers on Dorchester Avenue in Fields Corner – with at least one party that may or may not have included a shooting incident – the city’s Licensing Board on July 28 suspended the business’s common victualler license as a means of sending a strong message of concern.

Member Kathleen Joyce said the allegations and findings by Boston Police and Inspectional Services Department (ISD) investigators against owner Samantha Ansin, of Methuen, were serious and needed consequences.

“These are really serious violations in my opinion,” said Joyce at the voting meeting. “However, she is a very successful caterer trying to expand her business into a full restaurant with event space. I can’t look past these violations.”

There was a Cease & Desist posting on the front door of the 1476 Dorchester Ave. storefront last week, but Ansin has been allowed to continue her catering business in the interim.

During a July 26 hearing of the Licensing Board, Boston Police investigators and Ansin discussed three incidents, including an April 2 shots-fired incident across the street from Ansin’s location that she disputed. After-hours parties on March 20 and April 1 were not in dispute, however.

Sgt. William Gallagher indicated that at 3 a.m. on March 20 several officers responded to complaints of a loud party at the location, which he said had been flagged by the Mayor’s Office as being a problem location for after-hours events. They found about 30 people there with an open bar, food, and a DJ. The premises were evacuated without incident, but the violations were significant, and Sgt. Gallagher said it was difficult to get in touch with Ansin about what had happened.

Ansin said she had allowed some of her catering employees to have a birthday party there, and it didn’t go well. She said she took full responsibility. “That’s no longer allowed,” she said. “There were two instances, but as of now that’s not an issue.”

A second incident on April 1 had police responding at 2:30 a.m. and finding multiple people outside and someone at the door telling police, “Everyone is leaving.” Police found about 15 people inside with a DJ, security, a bar with bartender and food service. Ansin said that, again, it was a situation where employees were congregating without her knowledge, using the key they had been given for work-related activities. Instead, she said, they were having parties.

The third incident on April 2 came at 3:34 a.m. after police on routine patrol earlier in the night had witnessed people coming and going from the storefront once again in what they felt was an after-hours party. The call at 3:34 a.m. was a ShotSpotter activation for gunshots. Police responded and found broken bottles on the street as if a fight had transpired, as well as three silver .45 caliber shell casings across from the catering shop in front of a convenience store.

Ansin said she didn’t know anything about the April 2 gunshot report, as it happened away from her premises.

“In that instance, I have no knowledge of that,” she said. “I have no connection to the shooting going up at 1489 [Dorchester Avenue].”

She noted that she has a business partner who works at all times of the night and was probably the one police saw coming and going during their patrol.

“If it’s just people coming in, it may not be a party,” she said. “We’re doing late-night shifts” and she added there is a lot of work going on at night on the building.

Licensing officials asked if she could produce receipts for work that was done on that night, specifically what kind of work and when. Ansin said she could not produce that information at the hearing, but that employees on salary were likely in there working. She also said that after being notified of the third instance with a shots-fired call, she didn’t ask employees

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