Controversy and Health Code Violations at Bumpy’s Polar Freeze

Recorded August 11, 2020

A judge grants Schenectady County’s request to temporarily close down local ice cream establishment Bumpy’s Polar Freeze until it comes into compliance with public health guidelines intended to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The establishment has since been hit with a substantial fine as well. The owner has allegedly been combative with officials, and has become the subject of recent controversy resulting in several protests at Bumpy’s. What happens if they still refuse to close their doors? Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on PYX106 discussing the issue.

Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.

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Announcer: Quinn and Cantara.

Quinn: It’s Quinn and Cantara, PYX 106, 1-800-LAW1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Cantara: Paul is here to answer the age-old question that’s been kicking around the studio for weeks now. Paul, what is up with Bumpy’s, bro? We’re talking about Bumpy’s.

Quinn: Easy, old.

Cantara: Bumpy’s Polar Freeze. A judge, Friday, granted Schenectady County’s request to temporarily close down Bumpy’s Polar Freeze. But this is a long and winding story, right?

Paul: Yeah, they’re getting a lot of press. Not necessarily the press you’re looking for but lots of free press. So they’ve had this, you know, just sort of a controversial beginning. You know, there were text messages that came out from the, allegedly, from someone who works at the store, or possibly owns a store saying, “No, we don’t hire black people.” Well, that resulted in some protests there. We now find out that there have been these health violations that may have been predated that and certainly post this event. And so they’ve been trying to get in, saying, “Hey, we want to look at what you’ve done.” The owner saying, “You’re not allowed in.” And it looks like they’re gonna shut this place down.

Quinn: What if he doesn’t… What if they don’t actually close the doors, what happens next?

Paul: Well, sort of what’s happening now. So, you can decide to put it two ways. Once you’ve got a sheriff, they can come in and physically shut you down. You know, once after you’ve proved to the court, or the health department has proved to the court enough that there is public health problem. And then secondly, the owner, if he just kind of says, “Hey, we understand that. We’re gonna stay open,” there’s a thing called contempt of court. Well, there are charges, criminal charges so you just start going down a bad path.

Cantara: Yeah. I read that he had skipped out on his arraignment and everything. This guy is being a real problem, huh?

Paul: Well, he seems like I said, you know, he is definitely defying these rules and the health department. Maybe he’s feeling targeted. Maybe he’s feeling that, you know, he has something that he wants to say. But unfortunately, within the confines of public health, he’s gonna have to comply with the rules.

Quinn: So you think if there was no protests and there was no controversy, do you think he just would have kept being business as usual?

Paul: Well, the health department, you know, they struggle with that. They come in, they cite you, and then you’re supposed to come in. They say, “Yeah, you’ve got it done. You’re almost got it done,” because they want to keep businesses running. You know, so, here, I do think there’s more of a spotlight on it clearly. And then we also have an owner who seems to be openly defiant. Again, he may have his reasons, but the combination is combustible so, yeah, we’re seeing this more than you would see it if we just have another site at… they’ve come in and said, “Hey, you gotta fix that sprayer,” and then they come back, “The sprayer’s not fixed, we’re gonna shut you down.”

Cantara: Did they take his pellet gun away?

Paul: What’s that?

Cantara: Did they take the owner’s pellet gun away, Bumpy’s ice cream owner pellet gun? He was threatening people with a pellet gun.

Quinn: That was, yeah, that was a couple of weeks, about a month ago.

Paul: Yeah. Again, he just began that long path for him where he’s just been arrested twice, I believe, at least one time.

Cantara: I wouldn’t have expect that out of an ice cream shop.

Paul: Right.

Quinn: It seems to me, Paul, you keep saying long path. Like I bet your advice would probably be to comply at some point, right?

Paul: It would be to absolutely comply, fix the issues, and then try to, you know, get the rest of the season. Number one, I’m sure, traffic’s down a little bit at Bumpy’s anyway, for the controversy that is all over the media.

Cantara: Close your mouth.

Paul: And then secondly, the season is ending, right? You know, ice cream season ends in October, so, yeah. Have to comply.

Cantara: Yeah.

Quinn: Solid advice as always, Paul.

Cantara: Look, the guy’s probably got a family, 10 kids or something. He’s gotta feed. I get it. I get it. I understand the frustration.

Quinn: This story’s been going on all summer long. It’s just microcosm for the world we’re living in right now.

Cantara: Yup, it is. That’s a great way to put it. Yeah.

Quinn: Right.

Cantara: Anywhere you look, you’ll find stories like this. Paul, thank you, my friend.

Paul: Okay, guys. Talk soon.

Quinn: Nice to see you.

Cantara: There he goes, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, 1-800-LAW-1010,