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Oakley: Carpaccio’s Fined $2,500


Rowena Coetsee of the Contra Costa Times is reporting that Carpaccio Ristorante will be fined $2,526—three times the cost of the food facility permit it’s applied for—before the county will sign off on the document.

The fine stems from the restaurant serving food to during the Contra Costa County Mayors Conference where mayors from 19-contra Costa Cities were in attendance including county and state officials. I requested information on the dinner plans prior to the event starting which were kept a big mystery where the agenda was not matching up with the dinner plans since Carpaccios was not yet completed. My request went ignored by Bryan Montgomery and Kevin Romick.  The only response I received was from Executive Director Gary Pokorny where he stated that they would go to a location within walking distance of the conference–that of course didn’t happen as the food was brought to the conference.

The truth is, the City of Oakley knowingly broke the law. If they didn’t know then they are either playing stupid or they are unqualified to serve as employs of this city.   The reality is in order to save face on “Carpaccios’, the City decided it was in their best interest to put the other 19-mayors in Contra Costa County in jeopardy.  They knowingly broke the rules, skirted the rules and it can’t be excused.  It’s a shame that Manuel Munoz was the only one fined because the City also acted recklessly and those from the city staff involved should also be personally fined.

The Times is also reporting that  Carpaccio also skirted fire safety rules, which stipulate that alarms, sprinklers and, in the case of a restaurant, commercial kitchen suppression systems must be installed and working before employees can do any on-site work.

Carpaccio doesn’t yet have a license to serve alcohol, either — the state won’t grant that permission until it has conducted a final inspection — but the law makes an exception for private events where alcohol is neither sold nor normally stored and served.

While the Times is reporting Carpaccio’s doesn’t have an alcohol license, that is not what Bryan Montgomery said in an email to the City Council (including Hardcastle and Burgis) on December 7th in response to an email from Michelle Buchholtz from Hook, Line and Sinker where she and her husband Gene Buchholtz  observed the events unfold and state they have pictures–they are also the ones who contacted the County Health Department.  Here is an email I obtained via records request of an email from Michelle Buchholtz to the City Council followed by Montgomery’s response to the City Council.

Dear Oakley City Council members:

Last night, we watched as the City of Oakley hosted the Contra Costa Mayors Conference at the Oakley City Hall .  For the past several weeks, Mr. Montgomery and Mayor Romick have been telling the public that the dinner following the meeting, would be held at Carpaccio’s and if the restaurant was not yet open, Carpaccio’s would still cater the event in the Oakley council chambers.  When we were down to the day before the event, Mayor Romick was still giving the same story, but that the food would be prepared at another location since Carpaccio’s did not have the required permits.  The City Manager has been telling folks and the press that Carpaccio’s has had their ABC Alcohol license for months.  Anyone with half a brain knew what was going to happen.

And happen it did.  Last night, we observed wait staff taking food trays out of the Carpaccio’s restaurant, loading them into a van, driving the van across the street, and unloading the food trays and taking them into the council chambers where they served hors d’oeuvres, a salad and a full hot buffet, with several wine bottles on each table.  Not once, did we see anyone delivering the food that was going to be prepared “elsewhere” to Carpaccio’s.  A formal complaint has been filed with the Contra Costa Environmental Health Department and will be supplemented with photos of the event.

When are you going to realize that Mr. Montgomery believes he is above the law and actually do something about it?  Anyone who is subject to health permits and inspections knows that this is a gross violation of the law.  Anyone who has a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, knows that you can’t get your license until your facility is actually open.  Anyone who has done business in the City of Oakley , knows you can’t open the doors until our Planning Department gives its official stamp of approval.  So how is it that Mr. Montgomery is able to jump all of these hurdles and put the health and welfare of every Mayor in Contra Costa County at risk, just to show off his latest accomplishment?

I hope our City Council members take these issues seriously.  You might want to check out this post on East County Today – for a change, Mike Burkholder is right on target.

And kindly do not again instruct Mr. Montgomery to contact me with his canned responses.  You will be hearing from our attorney instead.

Michelle Buchholz
Michelle E. Buchholz, CPA
925-625-2441 Ext. 3

Hook, Line & Sinker
3100 Main St. #260
Oakley, CA   94561
(925) 625-2441
(925) 420-5953 (FAX)

Here is his full response to the accusations from Dec. 7 by Bryan Montgomery.


The Bucholz are once again displeased L. I wish their emails stemmed from a genuine concerned about the health and safety of Oakley, but their approach over time doesn’t seem consistent with that wish.

Of course it was our hope that Carpaccio’s would be ready for the Mayors Conference dinner and it almost was. A number of things have gotten in the way of meeting the desired completion date. Like us, Manuel and his team are disappointed, since their long hours often well into the night, didn’t suffice to make the goal. The effort was there, but construction can be complicated and many matters are outside of our direct control.

The near-completed facility received a preliminary fire inspection on Wednesday and a 95% Health Services inspection the week before. Both had very minor things left to finish up, but they couldn’t be done in time for last night’s dinner. (Health Service, for example, needed the trash enclosure completed with hot and cold water running, cove base tile in the restrooms and the restroom faucets were not yet installed at the time of the inspection, and an adjustment to a drain pipe at a floor sink was needed).

The owner of Carpaccio’s has two brothers and a brother in-law with restaurants in West County . The backup plan all along was to have him cater in the food at one of those restaurants and warm it here. As far as I can tell, the food (which was very good by the way) was brought in and put together and warmed up at City Hall. I’m assuming he did warm up some of the food at the new facility as his kitchen has been operational for some time since he had his 95% Health inspection. I will seek to find out more information, but it is really a matter between them and the health inspector with whom they have been working for months.

While Carpaccio didn’t serve any alcohol at the event, the ABC license for the new Carpaccio was applied for late last year and posted on the property early this year. All fees are paid and the formal license will be issued when the restaurant is open. As you know, the license process is competitive because of the limited number of licenses granted per county, but jumping on it early has secured one for the facility. (I will request a copy of the related ABC paperwork).

It actually isn’t the Planning Department, but the Building Department that conducts the final inspections and will not issue a Certificate of Occupancy on any facility until ConFire and Health Services (for food and other required establishments) confirm a successful final inspection. Those are two independent agencies and we do not have and are not able to exert any authority over them. While Health was essentially complete, the Fire inspection on Wednesday indicated a few remaining concerns, so we went to Plan B of having the meal in the Council Chambers rather than at the restaurant.

Again, I am not sure why the Bucholz express so much animosity towards me. I would hope that they and all of Oakley be cheering for this and any other new business.

Bryan H. Montgomery
OAKLEY, CA 94561
PHONE 925-625-7007

So is the alcohol permit posted on the property or not?  According to Montgomery, it is while the state won’t grant that permission until it has conducted a final inspection. Something is not adding up.

At the end of the day, this could have been better handled if Bryan Montgomery and Kevin Romick used better judgement. What is the big deal if Carpaccio’s did not follow through for this dinner? Dinner is either skipped and a refund is given or the City picks up the tab for a Black Bear Diner dinner or a few pizza’s are ordered from Mountain Mikes.  That would have been the best choice instead of how the events went down.

Unfortunately due to the actions of our City Staff knowingly breaking the law, a restaurant was fined and given a black eye before it even opens which is the sad part in all of this.


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22 Responses »

  1. To bad this didn’t happen in October or we would have Dave Hansen instead of Kevin Romick on the council. Montgomery looks like a fool and is lying.

  2. Add this to the list of behavior of Montgomery which begins with his own City Manager deal. His email has him lying to the new city council. If they put up with this, they are just as guilty. Imagine if they repeated his lies to the media, they would look like fools after the fine came in.

  3. Oakley beginning to look a lot like the idiots in Brentwood and Antioch. Hope the council holds Montgomery accountable. I also hope the other 19 in attendance realize the political harm Oakley put them in by being served food by a business breaking the rules.

    • Imagine serving on a committee as the council has to do and they ask for money for Oakley. Their response, “hey, didn’t your mayor and city manager put me in political jeopardy?” That is what happens when one is reckless… it has consequences.

  4. The Buchholtz look like complainers and should be ashamed of themselves. They should be thankful Carpaccio will drive traffic to their crappy business. This is really no big deal. If i was Mr. Munoz, I’d refuse servie to these jerks.

  5. And Mr Montgomery continues to be the sheriff in Oakley, making the rules up as he goes along! Sad.. His response is kind of like me telling the police, that i planned to get insurance for my car on Tuesday, but i had to be somewhere today, so i just drove anyway, because i knew i would have insurance on Tuesday!

    I also love how he starts his letter to the council by degrading the owners of an Oakley Business!

  6. Not surprising a Former Oakley Chamber Member would be ok with the City participating in the breaking of laws and then calling it no big deal!

  7. When is the Council going to realize that Montgomery is not looking out for the best interest of the city? The minute anyone questions one of his decisions or action, he goes into attack mode. As usual we are seeing — My way or the Highway. Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have had enough of his mismanagement, poor judgement, canned responses, excuses, lies, etc. I call on the Oakley City Council to remove him from this position immediately.

    And if it comes up that the city should pay this fine………Not only NO but HELL NO! The owners showed extremely poor judgement serving food from an incomplete building that did not have the necessary permits. That is asking for trouble and for the city to be part of it is down right disgusting. Laws were violated and people that should have known better need to be held accountable.

  8. Montgomery must go, NOW and Oakley must pay the fine for the Munoz family.

    This whole thing started smelling funny at the very beginning and has gotten worse. I am sure Mr Mongomery told the Munoz there would be no problem, OUT OUT OUT!

  9. hahahahhaha good luck recalling anyone in Oakley 🙂 It is hard enough to get people to pay attention. This was obvious by the recent election!

  10. Why did Michelle and Hook Line And Sinker even open there mouth…………………………………..

  11. Montgomery and Romick, pull out your personal wallets and cough up the fine idea you had.

  12. Montgomery and Romick tried to support a new local business close to city hall. It’s sad that a local business has to create so much drama, and waste there time trying to police a new restaurant opening. The reality is that this new restaurant will bring foot traffic to the businesses surrounding it. Or at least customers of Carpaccios will see the other businesses near it. I was considering moving my business from Pittsburg to Oakley. Maybe not. We should be thankful the owner of Carpaccios is willing to gamble on Oakley to open a new restaurant. We should be thankful the restaurant has the support of the city counsel and the mayor. Aren’t there more important things to worry about in this community? How about keeping our kids and schools safer?

    • Supporting a local business is one thing, encouraging the full steam ahead with rules to be broken is another. I support the Carpaccio’s business, but I do not support what they tried to pull for the Mayors conference. It’s two different things.

      There are many other things to worry about, this just happened to be on the list.

  13. Montgomery and Romick have a right to run Oakley any way they see fit. Don’t forget who’s town this is!

    If you think the rules are meant to be followed, you’re right, unless your name is Montgomery or Romick.

    Just think of all the sleazy things these guys are probably doing that no one ever hears about!

    Monty’s claim to fame and sainthood is that the mortgage deal that he and Romick put together for him was never implemented. And now people are defending this health code violation situation by applauding Monty’s willingness to support a new local business. Laws are meant to be broken – and what better way to demonstrate that. I’m so glad that this one business (Carpaccio’s) has Monty’s full support!

    But what about the “LEGAL” businesses that could have stepped up. La Costa, Big Bear Diner, and several others probably would have appreciated the business. But in this town we play by Monty’s rules..

    And when he gets caught, he lashes out. For him to mock a local business owner who has brought this illegal activity to the attention of the authorities shows what a bully he has become. He was warned before the illegal activity took place, but he actually seems to believe in his omnipotence.

    Accusing a law abiding local business of not having “a genuine concerned about the health and safety of Oakley…” is outrageous. Monty conspired to break the law because his ego is about ten sizes too big for his authority.

    Montgomery should apologize to the law abiding business owners and explain in clear terms his understanding that he made a mistake in working with Carpaccios to break the law. He should agree to never again lash out against citizens in this (or any) manner.

    The City Council should either seek his resignation or issue a formal reprimand and begin building an accurate record of his job performance. Special attention should be paid to Montgomery (and the Council) treating all citizens with respect.

  14. Welcome to world of ” Pay to Play Politics”. This is a common example of the politicians preference and selective support of only certain individuals or groups. It is the way of today’s politician to lie, look the other way, pander, and anything else for personal gain when you have paid to play. Look around you. These parasites are everywhere because we continue to vote them in. The way of honesty, integrity, truth, and character has evolved to the lowest levels because we the people allow it. One person commented that a recall was impossible. I think otherwise as it has been done many times before.
    You may see one soon in Brentwood School District. It just depends how fed up you need to be.

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