Acting through the Harris County Attorney's Office, the State of Texas is suing the Fannin Food Mart and the property's landlord, Jae Kim. The state claims that the property is a public nuisance and neither Fannin Food Mart's registered agent Azeem Ali Noorani nor Kim have done anything to abate the problems despite being admonished to do so.
The store in question is located at 2111 Fannin and is adjacent to the Greyhound station on Main. It is also known as the Tiger Mart, and it once housed a Creole lunch counter and still is home to a doughnut shop.
The state's suit portrays the 24-hour market as a veritable hive of scum and villainy, a place where the crooked Fannin Street of Tom Waits song lives on ("Don't go down to Fannin Street...You'll be lost and never found, you can never turn around, don't go down...to Fannin Street.")
According to the suit, HPD has logged almost 200 calls to the store since August, and in the last 12 months, HPD has arrested one person for cocaine dealing, four others for cocaine possession and two others for prostitution.
Cops have also been called out to investigate an aggravated assault and two robberies at the location. The suit claims that the market's owner and the property's landlord have "knowingly tolerated this and allowed such activity to occur habitually on the property," and as such, it constitutes a public nuisance.
The suit goes on to say that as it is currently run, the store "would proximately cause a person of ordinary sensibilities to be substantially frightened, discomforted, annoyed, and inconvenienced in the use of any premises surrounding the property."
The suit requests that a bond of no less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 be paid to ensure that the store cleans up its act. Should the store continue in its allegedly wicked ways, the bond would be forfeited to the state and the store would be shuttered for one year.
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If Google's reviewers are to be believed, the general public shares the state's dim view of the store. The Fannin Texaco Food Market has received three reviews, all of them one-star.
"Dirty," reads one in full; "Bums and lots of them," reads another. A third alleges racism perpetrated by the Middle Eastern clerks. The reviewer says that one of the "3-4 racist Arabics" working there refused to accept 40 pennies in partial payment for a bottle of PowerAde and said that "You think since your white we are going to serve you and that you know everything."
Wow. All we can say is that we've been in there personally dozens of times over the years and we've never experienced anything more annoying or discomforting than the usual Midtown panhandling. We can't help but wonder if this is the first salvo in the long-held dream of many a neo-Midtowner: that City Hall will launch a developer-backed onslaught to "clean up" the area around the Greyhound station.