New Big Wong losing weekend business to parking scammers

Weekend business takes a dive as parking spaces get hijacked

Scam parking services on the Dodie's / New Big Wong parking lot could force the closing of Lower Greenville's most famous and legitimate restaurant.

For the past month, these scammers (who worked parking lots in Deep Ellum until the area went south) have been working this parking lot, plus taking over the spaces in front of the c-store on the other side of Richmond Avenue. Last weekend, they set up a valet stand in front of Sofrano's, nearly two blocks south, bringing cars by the dozens.

Frame 1 - A New Big Wong manager keeps an eye on the only parking spaces he has left for his customers; Frame 2 - Scammer collects money from bar patron on Richmond side of parking

The scammers have a contract from the property owners, Marc Richman and his brother, paying them $500 per month for the use of spaces in front of Dodie's, the dry cleaners and Subway. They also park cars in the lot behind Dodie's, despite a zoning agreement that prohibits the use of the parking lot for paid parking services. The city issued a valet permit two weeks ago to Longhorn Valet Service, with the address of their remote parking lot listed as 2121 Greenville.

2121 Greenville is the official address for New Big Wong, not Dodie's.

Faster than you can eat an egg roll, BD watched as the scammers directed vehicles to the parking spaces in front of New Big Wong along the sidewalk. Just two weeks ago, a property manager for the Richman's told the scammers they were not to use these same parking spaces. On Saturday evening, BD chased off two gangbangers who slid their truck into another Big Wong space; one scammer started screaming that he had control of the whole parking lot, but eventually moved the truck closer to Dodie's. He had no problem ignoring his own red safety cones, carefully placed on the ends of parking slots that identified the boundary between New Big Wong and Subway.

A Lower Greenville institution for more than 20 years, New Big Wong is usually full of people satisfying their late-night Chinese food fix. On this evening, only three tables were occupied. A manager stood out front of the restaurant, watching all his parking spaces disappear. He told BD he has lost money every weekend since the scammers set up shop. When BD asked if he called the Richman's to complain about the scammers, he just waved his hands in the air and said, He's not listening. He just wants to make money.

Complaints about the parking scam have been filed every weekend at City Hall. But so far - not a surprise - the City has not taken any action to enforce the zoning agreement for the back parking lot or force the scammers to use the Dodie's address for the parking.

These scammers are considered extremely aggressive and very stupid. A few weeks ago, they called the Dallas Police Department in order to force BD to stop taking their photographs. They were politely reminded that maybe where they come from the police can seize someone's camera, but here in the USA we have something called the First Amendment. Last evening, their own security guard was forced to intervene and tell them to stop shining their flashlight at BD's camera (as if that would work).

They also told BD he should stop interfering in how they make a living. BD's reply - It's about time you found another career choice.

The Richman's are making money, the scammers are making money.

But in the end, it's New Big Wong paying for it.

By Avi S. Adelman under Dallas City Council , Code enforcement