There are a series of blog entries over on The San Diego Reader by Tom Gatch which are nothing more than thinly disguised free advertisements for Baja businesses.
I guess there is no law against pimping for ones friends. But you have to wonder what kind of company Tom Gatch keeps down there. This week’s installment from Gatch is a promotion of Las Parrillas, a new restaurant near the Estero Beach Resort on the south end of Ensenada.
“Owner Roy Topik, an East Coast transplant, and his managing chef, Tom Baldwin, who has decades of experience in the food service industry, met for the first time at the local swap meet. Baldwin was busy serving handcrafted burgers to a hoard of hungry shoppers when Topik, who was already thinking about opening a restaurant in the area, tried one and immediately noticed its superlative quality. The two began talking, and it didn’t take long for them to realize that they might have a viable business plan for catering to the desire of both resident and visiting Americans who occasionally yearn for some of the tastes and aromas that they grew up with.”
Roy Topik and Tom Baldwin
One could debate why there should be a restaurant in Ensenada serving “Real American Food,” but is seems Gatch could do just a little more research before pimping these businesses.
Owner Roy Topik seems to have gone from one disaster to another all his life. Here are a few examples:
1. In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint against Roy Topik and his companies in Rhode Island, after it learned that four children had been lead poisoned at properties owned by Topik. He later did not appear in court and had a default judgment against him for over $240,000.
2. As a landlord in Burrillville, Massachusetts, Roy Topik was charged with felony larceny for allegedly seizing the possessions of a tenant whom he had asked to move out, and then dumping that property along a roadside. He was also charged with trespassing and vandalism.
3. While living in Florida, our restaurateur was jailed for battery and domestic violence, doing time in the Jackson County Correctional Facility.
Topik is also alledged to be past due on child support payments and have IRS tax liens.
This is not the first time Tom Gatch opened his mouth and inserted his foot. In an article on Fishing off the rocks in baja, our journalist gleefully explained how to illegal take mussels to use for fish bait. Apparently, Gatch was unaware –or unconcerned — that foreigners are forbidden from taking shellfish in Mexico, even with a fishing license.
To cover this faux pas, after Fulano reminded him that what he was recommending was illegal, Gatch recovered his balance with a lame and fabricated-on-the-spot excuse:
“Fortunately, Baja California is usually a place where the letter of the law is dutifully acknowledged, but most of the authorities in the field are far more likely to enforce the spirit of the law than their counterparts in the U.S. Hence, a local or visiting angler out on the rocks at low tide who is gathering bait or a few mussels for dinner will generally be viewed as exactly that, not as someone who is illicitly taking large quantities of shellfish for commercial purposes. Undoubtedly, in California, such a menacing miscreant as the aforementioned would be quickly issued a citation for several hundred dollars while a record check was simultaneously being made to make sure that he wasn’t in arrears on his child support payment.”
Child support payments in arrears? Is that why Roy Topik is in Mexico? Actually, Tom, most of the Mexican authorities in the field are more likely to try to extract money out of a gringo for looking cross-eyed while whistling. Just ask anybody driving through Tecate these days.
To finish off justifying his hard work at pimping for crooks and recommending Americans break Mexican laws, Tom ends with this admonition:
“By the way, my numerous writings that promote Baja as a great place to travel, recreate, vacation or eventually retire are well known and are very much appreciated by many of those who are in prominent positions within Baja California’s governing body. They fully realize that my work is important, because it offers a viable counterbalance to the negative barrage of comments that generally come from folks such as you.”