(Natural News) Kassab Jewelers, a jewelry store in downtown Portland that has been operating for decades, is planning to sue the city due to its alleged failure to protect businesses from the looters that broke into their store during the start of the engineered rioting in late May.
Noha Kassab, CEO of Kassab Jewelers, filed a tort claim with the city last September. She is seeking $2.5 million in damages from the city to cover the cost of the damage inflicted upon her store, her lost profits and the theft of over $1.5 million worth of rubies, diamonds and other gems.
Kassab Jewelers was just one of many high-end businesses that were ransacked by Antifa and Black Lives Matter looters when the rioting in Portland began in late May. Four months after the initial rioting, many of these businesses remain boarded up and unable to get their operations running again.
Many streets in downtown Portland that were once filled with customers and tourists now remain quiet. The fact that the neighborhood turns into a battleground every night doesn’t help.
Kassab is arguing that, after the death of George Floyd and the eruption of rioting and violence in Minneapolis, city officials should have been prepared for the demonstrations to begin in Portland and that they should have planned how to protect downtown businesses.
Since the riot on May 28th, Kassab Jewelers has remained closed in downtown Portland. The business says it sustained so much damage, it can’t operate. The owners are now suing the city for not being more prepared that night and doing more to protect their business. @fox12oregon pic.twitter.com/jbvXSnPxLA
— Drew Reeves (@DrewReevesTV) October 1, 2020
“It’s really heartbreaking to see all that beauty and hardship destroyed,” said Rana Kassab, president of Kassab Jewelers and daughter of Noha.
At around 1 a.m. on May 30, Noha got a call from Rana that people had broken into their store. Security camera footage of the ransacking showed that dozens of people were breaking in and taking everything. Her daughter had called 911 and was told that the police would get there when they could. Fifteen minutes later, however, and there was still no response.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Rana. “There came a point where I couldn’t physically handle watching it anymore.”
According to Noha, who also watched the footage of the ransacking of her store, over a hundred different people broke into their store to loot it. Noha’s sons and son-in-law arrived at the store to stand guard until the police arrived. They waited all night, however, because the Portland Police Bureau officers never bothered to check in on them.
While the store, fortunately, didn’t burn down, all of the jewelry in it was gone. The store was plundered just nine days after they reopened, after having to endure several grueling months of lockdown that took the immigrant family’s main source of income away from them.
“Over the course of the next hour, until approximately 2:09 a.m., the store was broken into, looted and vandalized by over 100 individuals,” wrote Noha in the lawsuit. “On multiple occasions, Portland police officers were within close proximity to the store (either outside on the sidewalk, driving by or parked outside). Yet, no Portland police officer intervened or took any step to secure the Store, despite the obvious theft occurring and extensive damage being done.”
Kassab Jewelers is currently the only business that’s pursuing the city for damages. According to Laura Oppenheimer, spokeswoman for the city’s risk management agency, the city has no record of any other business suing the city for damages related to the rioting. (Related: Four months of rioting: Antifa rioters in Portland send police sergeant to the hospital, douse other officers in chemicals.)
“I love downtown Portland,” said Noha. “But this is not the Portland we know.”
Wheeler’s attempt to revitalize commerce criticized as “too little, too late”
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat up for reelection in November against a socialist, was questioned by business and property owners regarding what kind of help they can expect to get from the city back in June. Neither the mayor nor his office responded to any of their grievances until the beginning of August, when they were able to finally draft a plan to revive commerce downtown.
According to Wheeler’s “Retail Activation Strategy,” businesses that are owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs – like Kassab Jewelers – will be given priority in any future commercial reopening strategies concocted by Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development agency. Some of the initiatives lined up include a city-funded marketing campaign and pop-up events intended to generate more interest in the business.
Many business owners aren’t convinced. Some are concerned with the lack of a plan to incentivize businesses to reopen instead of abandoning their stores. Milne is further concerned with the lack of a plan to get customers and tourists back downtown.
Stacey Gibson, the owner of several Subway stores downtown, is hopeful that Wheeler’s plan will positively impact her business. However, she stated that it’s tough for her and other business owners like her to trust the city again because they didn’t receive any help from them when they needed Wheeler the most.
“Our confidence is a little bit low in how things are handled right now,” said Gibson. “It needs to be earned back. Quick, decisive actions are needed.”
Noha had harsher words for the Retail Activation Strategy, calling it “too little, too late.”
“The tolerance for the people breaking the law is outrageous!” said Noha during an interview with local news outlet Oregon Live back in August. “Wheeler’s plan does not address the root of the problem! He’s attempting to deal with the symptoms. He’s late in the game. There should be no empathy for law breakers. Enforce the laws. Do not tolerate lawlessness and these problems will go away.”
Kassab Jewelers has been operating as a family-owned business for over 40 years. Noha, who immigrated to America from Lebanon, previously worked as the company’s chief marketing officer before taking over as CEO back in 2019. While they enjoyed a very successful year, the lockdown has overshadowed a lot of their earlier successes, and the ransacking of the store has just compounded on their economic woes.
While their main store in downtown Portland is still not open, they continue to operate their suburban stores in Lake Oswego and Tigard, cities directly to the south and southwest of Portland, respectively.
Learn more about how the Antifa and Black Lives Matter engineered riots are destroying small businesses, even those owned by BIPOC businessmen, by reading the latest articles at Rioting.news.