George’s diner closed after owner films health inspector during inspection

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Update: January 9, 2012

George’s diner was re-inspected today by the city health inspector. Two inspectors were sent,  and the restaurant was allowed to re-open. George’s will be open for normal business tomorrow. A letter grade will be assigned after a follow up inspection is made.

Owner Bill Koulmentas said, “It is not common for a restaurant to be re-opened this fast…(we received), a lot of positive verbal feedback (on the BatteryPark.TV story) from throughout Battery Park City. Thank you very much for all that you have done.”

January 7, 2012  By Steven Greer, MD

George’s diner on Greenwich Street and Rector Street, south of the World Trader Center, was shut down by the New York City Health Department on Friday, January 6th. The original restaurant had to be demolished after the WTC disaster of September 11th, 2001, and was reopened in a newly constructed building in 2005.

We interviewed the owner, Bill Koulmentas, to learn why the restaurant was shut down. We could not contact the health department.

According to Mr. Koulmentas, and iPhone video supporting his story, a female health inspector stopped by approximately two weeks ago and found some violations. He felt that the inspector was aggressive and had an agenda to find violations no matter what. On Friday, January 6th, a male inspector arrived unannounced at 9:30 AM and inspected until 2:30 PM.

During the inspection on the 6th, Mr. Koulmentas felt that the inspector was “rigging” the inspection, claiming cockroaches were found that did not exist, that the refrigerator did not work when it did, etc. He pulled out his iPhone and began to videotape the inspector. At this point, the inspector began to become irritated. Mr. Koulmentas believes that the closure of his restaurant was due to his filming the health inspector and disputing his findings.

The health inspector closed the restaurant on the spot, at 2:30 PM, January 6th. It is unknown what will happen next and when the restaurant might be allowed to reopen.

The new letter grading system instituted by Mayor Bloomberg has been very controversial. Newspaper reports have insinuated that the process is rife with corruption, and was adopted simply as a way to increase revenues for the city in the form of fines. Many restaurant owners feel that the grades assigned are completely arbitrary, and Mr. Koulmentas’ filmed experience certainly adds credence to those theories.

If you are a restaurant owner and have experienced similar problems with the health department, BatteryPark.TV wants to know about it. Shoot us an email at

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7 Responses to George’s diner closed after owner films health inspector during inspection

  1. admin says:

    Amazing Journalism (and I went to Northwestern for journalism) – the George’s diner film you did gets an A grade from me (but remember I’ll be back in a few days with another possible grade).
    – Tom Goodkind
    Community Board 1 member

  2. John A. Fratta says:

    That was outrageous. The city is making it totally impossible for small businesses to survive in New York. This is what happens when you get a mayor that can only associate with large businesses. I think that the owners of George’s should file a complaint with the Department of Investigation and Councilwomen Margaret Chin. This is government at it worst.

  3. Adam says:

    Bptv rocks!!!! We need to change bptv to “faster than a speeding bullet ” with how quick and persistent coverage within downtown benefits all of us. Without bptv , we would be lost and forced to be informed by the rag publications .
    Real stories -//real people—/all covered extremely well by bptv .
    Great job as always….!

  4. Judith says:

    Awesome reporting. I was flabbergasted that the NYC Health Department closed this restaurant because of “unsanitary conditions”. Yet, for two months 200+ people camped out in Zuccotti Park without proper sanitation or bathroom facilities resulting in filth, vermin, and infections. Nice to know the city’s resources are allocated where it counts the most (cough, cough)!

  5. THE TRUTH says:

    The city does that on purpose to get revenue for the city.Every trip a so called health dept inspector make to a restaurant has to generate income for the city and more inspections per year means more income for the city and you are paying their wages .Its like parking tickets,they hire more agents which they have nothing to lose because they can afford it with every agent writing 100 tickets a day which is more than what they get paid.Health dept takes you all for a fool and have to make money for the city on every trip.

    After a fine has been paid you will get A rating to Thank you for paying.Then 3 weeks later they will start playing the same game they are trained to play so well. The city dept is not out to help you but to help them pay their bills and you must understand that.

    Please stop harassing the business and the people of new york. They are trying to make a living and the city should help them. Ever since Bloomberg took over, the city gets more crooked. I’m glad Mr Bill Koulmentas stepped up.

    Good luck and keep on fighting. Either way you get MUG by another CROOK where you can do nothing except complain. They’ll stop when there are too many complaints but than again they already ripped you off.

    Long comment but its true.

    GOOD JOB MR Bill Koulmentas

  6. Sara Smith says:

    Hello I am a small business owner in NYC a small cafe . My experience with the health department has been nothing but a nightmare . I don’t mind them doing their jobs. It’s the safety of people’s lives that come before all else. But this city has turned it into a money making machine.

    No inspector follows the same rules. They all interpret it differently, so each inspector has a different opinion on the safety guidelines.

    Most are rude and condescending and wield lots of power and let you know it. I had two inspectors came to my place and racked up 50 points within a half hour, and then sat in my restaurant for 3 hours just laughing and talking. Two weeks later, under same conditions, we were re-inspected and got 10 points. Nothing had changed.

    Some sit at a table for 6 and refuse to move when you have customers waiting. If you only question them they get annoyed and start racking up the violations, mostly fabricated.

    The city then sells your name to lawyers and consultants who can help you for money. Its fleecing small business owners.

    Most city delis/bodegas don’t get inspected under NYC dept of health, but ratherthe agri dept. They handle Food, yet no guidelines

    The entire system is corrupted … The Starbucks and MickeyDs get away Scott free.

    Bloomberg has made it a nightmare for small business

  7. Tim Dean says:

    I live in southern Maryland and I had a corrupt health Dept inspector file a false complaint about my food service and shut me down for two months , after the two month battle in which I proved they were corrupt ,I was given back my permits and exclaiming I was always in compliance, they didn’t even apologize,

    Saturdays Choice Seafood on Yelp ,

    Tim Dean

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