Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Thoughts On The Charges Against Natasha Dasher And What This Means For Uniontown

State of the Uniontown
By now everyone is probably aware of yesterday's Washinton Post article regarding the felony drug trafficking charges against Natasha Dasher, owner of Uniontown Bar & Grill in Anacostia. Natasha was charged earlier this month after DEA agents tracked 140 pounds of cocaine from Texas to her office in Fort Washington, Maryland.

From yesterday's Washington Post article:

Natasha Dasher, 36, whose Uniontown Bar and Grill has become a popular destination in Southeast Washington, was confronted late last month by federal drug agents who had followed a tractor-trailer carrying the cocaine, about 140 pounds of it, to Fort Washington, according to an affidavit by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent. 
Dasher, who arrived at the office complex shortly after the truck pulled in, confirmed to the agents that the truck driver, Manuel Jesus Robles, had entered her office, according to the affidavit. Dasher provided the agents with a key to the suite, and when they went inside, they found Robles and three large duffel bags containing about $1.5 million, the affidavit says. Robles told agents that 65 kilograms of cocaine could be found in the fuel tank of the truck, according to the affidavit.
Understandably, since the story has broken everyone wants to talk about the allegations. People have been calling, emailing, and texting me inquiring about my thoughts on what this means for Uniontown and Anacostia. I am telling them the same thing that I am going to tell you, my dear readers. :)

Whenever possibly I try not to trade in rumor or speculation. We have had enough of that in Ward 8 to last a lifetime and we see where that has gotten us, nowhere good. You take the 20% of truth about Ward 8 and combine that with the speculation, rumor, and ignorance and the final story almost always goes from the specific, to the general, to the outlandish.

I have never understood why when it comes to crimes perpetrated by a black person some people (typically anonymous blog commenters) immediately like to paint everyone with racial (or geographic) commonalities with the same brush. It should go without saying, "The actions of the individual do not reflect the values and morals of an entire group."  I have yet to see white people carrying the burden (or blame) of the actions of Bernie Madoff, Lindsey Lohan, or Bryan Talbot; the latter a DC business owner who lives in an affluent neighborhood of Northwest and who was just arrested this week by the FBI for defrauding local homeowners (including many in "Southeast")  to the tune of over 1 million dollars. So far only one local news agency, WJLA,  has taken the time to report that story (make of that what you will).






Don't get me wrong. I understand this is a big story - not just for Anacostia or Ward 8 but the District as a whole. A highly visible DC restauranteur was charged with a federal crime of drug trafficking. The story should be told, it is relevant and very concerning.  Personally I was shocked to the point of nauseousness. However, just because the details are particularly provocative doesn't mean we should suspend our hopes (and expecations) for East of the River. This is not an opportunity for some to sit in judgement (often under the cover of a screenname) and  say, "What would you expect from Ward 8?!"

Back to the facts. Right now we know (and this may change):

Natasha Dasher owns Uniontown.
Uniontown has been an important part of the renewed revitalization of the Anacostia neighborhood.
Natasha Dasher has been charged with a federal crime.
Yesterday's article made no mention of drug trafficking in or around Uniontown.

As for the future, it remains to be seen what will happen with Natasha  (she is still innocent until proven guilty) and it remains to be seen what will happen to Uniontown. My instinct (and connections) tells me that good business is hard to ignore and Uniontown has good business.




One thing is for sure, yesterday's allegations take nothing from the fun times we had at Uniontown,  or what its success will mean for Anacostia. I was just at Uniontown on Friday with family and friends for an event and I was dancing, drinking, and contributing to the economic development of Anacostia - to the tune of $70!. We all had a great time and I am looking forward to more such great times. Anacostia really is becoming a place to Eat Shop Live Anacostia - sorry, couldn't help myself. :)

The future still looks bright.

#StillLovingAnacostia





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18 comments:

mahoganie said...

Well said Nikki. :)

Keith said...

Article was the lead of today's metro page, not yesterday.

Something isn't right with this story.

The Advoc8te said...

@Keith

Article appeared online yesterday afternoon.

The Advoc8te said...

Thanks M! I know we are all having some intense feelings.

khadijah.tribble said...

I for one think there is no such thing as bad press. In the moment everything seems horrible, but we've seen worse and people, businesses, institutions have survived. I agree with you Nikki that this unfortunate personal situation will have very little affect on EOTR development and progress. Neither Natasha nor Uniontown Grill have a long storied history with the community and aren't synomous with EOTR. For what it's worth, there have been more henious crimes committed on the very soil that is Ward 8 and in less than a week, we've gone back to business as usual. I don't have any particular hopes for the outcome of UTG or Mrs. Dasher other than what I've hope for all of the EOTR communities, a fair chance to succeed.

Anonymous said...

According to the article, the rent is not being paid for the restaurant. When a restaurant's cash flow is tied to potential illegal operations it becomes very hard to pay the bills. Not sure I see this ending well for the owner, nor should it.

Braveheart said...

Sincerely, I always thought there was something fishy about the restaurant's opening, but decided to give it a fair chance by checking it out. To be honest, I thought the service was great and the food was delicious. I'm learning more and more each day to trust my gut instinct.

At any rate, I really hope this is resolved with an happy ending for the business and the community...

MrsTNH said...

This was well said. I love facts, not speculations. This was disappointing however, the regular bloggers who posted speculations and their own versions of truth really hurt. They are also doing a disservice to our ward.

maxine davis said...

Well i am going to take another view of the situation. It appears that sindce Ward 8 is the new frontier and everybody is abuzz about the "new REEL", opportunists will abound. I also think that many of the new residents do not understand the history of the Ward. A little tidbit, look at the demographics of Ward 8 pre 1968 and 1965. for those of you who do not know Congress Heights had a large white population. All said, it is great to want to uplift the Ward, but don't forget the history, nor do not think that just because someone of a lighter complexion or surburban ties move into the Ward that it makes it better. Think about it and preserve our community

The Advoc8te said...

@Maxine Davis

????? I don't follow. What does that have to do with this?

Anabelle Whitepaws said...

First time on your site but definitely not the last. Although I no longer live in Ward 8, it'll always be home. My co-workers and I have been adoring Union Town since it opened! Its the only place EOTR where we can go and enjoy happy hour after work. It hurts my heart that I won't feel comfortable going back. I know I'd be apprehensive because I remember growing up around the time the drug scene hit SE bigtime.
DRUGS = VIOLENCE Gunshots...gunshots...gunshots... So much pain, anger and danger, not to mention, fear (there was a time I couldn't sleep at night; too many shots. Going outside the next day to find out who was killed this time).
Having said that...
What about retaliation? Somebody's out of their money which means somebody's going to be pretty upset! Who's to say the supplier won't torch the place? Surely they won't care who's inside if they decide to 'vent'. Even if she isn't the primary target, it wouldn't matter. While these are my assumptions, they're worthy of me keeping my distance for I remember the past...

maxine davis said...

If you don't understand then maybe you need to go back to PG

Christophe said...

Maxine Davis,

I don't understand your comments either and I live in Ward 8 and have never lived in PG, so where should I go?

Anonymous said...

Was she wrong for using a highly addictive drug like cocaine to prop up her business? YES. Is she the only one in DC who is doing this. HELL NO! I often wonder how many of these storefronts stay alive in Georgetown (who the hell buys all those imported middle eastern goods). Dasher did what most do, except as a black woman, you won't get away with it and the consequences are grave. Is this a reflection on Ward 8 YES! It proves that most people need some sort of seed money to really launch a business. Chad and Brian in H Street can get an easy $200k to open a beer house. But Chante and Brielle will need to apply for loans, work 3 jobs, mortgage homes or...seek funding from the underground economy to start their dream business.

The Uniontown scandal reflects the wealth inequalities that keep Black communities in a cycle of dependency as employees-opposed to building self-sustaining businesses as employers.

Anonymous said...

ANonymous

well put and that is the gyst of being black and ambitious in this retarded ass kuntry!

Different rules for us, you netter believe it!

As far as retaliation, there will be none, at that level of "business" you have red herring packages, ghost shipments, deviations, fluffers, floaters and sacrificial lambs just as she was!! Her establishment was simply a front for the more lucrative business!

Bizness as usual!

Mari said...

Y'all have my sympathy. I know what it means to have a business that makes the quality of life in your neighborhood improve and then it go away because the owner or manager did stupid. Hopefully you'll attract another restuarant/bar because if Uniontown shuts down, it is know that you can open a popular business EOTR.

Anonymous said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN to the commenter who said this, but not many will recognize this as much, they will be more concerned with the surface issues and not the real issue at hand..
>>> Was she wrong for using a highly addictive drug like cocaine to prop up her business? YES. Is she the only one in DC who is doing this. HELL NO! I often wonder how many of these storefronts stay alive in Georgetown (who the hell buys all those imported middle eastern goods). Dasher did what most do, except as a black woman, you won't get away with it and the consequences are grave. Is this a reflection on Ward 8 YES! It proves that most people need some sort of seed money to really launch a business. Chad and Brian in H Street can get an easy $200k to open a beer house. But Chante and Brielle will need to apply for loans, work 3 jobs, mortgage homes or...seek funding from the underground economy to start their dream business.

The Uniontown scandal reflects the wealth inequalities that keep Black communities in a cycle of dependency as employees-opposed to building self-sustaining businesses as employers.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing new, from the early 1900's efforts of blacks (think "black wallstreet") to create self sustaining businesses for economic empowerment of our communities have always been smashed. It just so happended Dasher was an easier target to take out. Black people owning a thriving business such as Uniontown Bar and Grill in an area where white people are attempting to conquer won't last long..if it wasn't a bust for drug trafficking, they would've waited longer to bust her on the likes of tax invasion or some other ridiculousness. All I can think of is the song and video by Plies "Why they hate us so much"