City Desk

More Rat Trouble for Vincent Orange Donor’s Store

Rat droppings from Sam Wang's December inspection

Will Sam Wang Produce ever pass a health inspection with no violations? In December, health inspectors tried to shut down the politically well-connected Northeast wholesaler after discovering rat droppings, prompting a "I want to speak to your supervisor"-style intervention from Councilmember Vincent Orange. The store was closed briefly anyway, and Orange's role in the inspection earned him an ethics investigation.

You would think the resulting scrutiny would convince Sam Wang  owner and Orange campaign donor Sang Oh Choi to start running the cleanest wholesaler in the District. But apparently that's not the case! In February, according to new documents obtained through a D.C. Freedom of Information Act request, Sam Wang was in rat trouble again.

A tipster, anonymous in the documents, told the Department of Health that he discovered more evidence of rats in the store. When he told a manager about it, he claimed that he was asked to leave the store, located at 300 Morse St NE. Choi didn't respond to a request for comment about the allegation.

A health inspector following up on the complaint on Feb. 5 didn't find proof that rats were in the building, but did discover holes that could let them in, along with five other violations. This time, no councilmembers showed up, and inspectors decided not to close the store.

Photo courtesy Department of Health

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  • EP Sato

    It's funny, but even before this I associated the words "Vincent Orange" and "rat" already.

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