Bidder pulls back offer to buy bar tied to Gordon Fox scandal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The high bidder to take over the Thayer Street sushi bar at the center of the scandal involving former House Speaker Gordon Fox has pulled back his offer to buy the restaurant.

Carlos Silva, the owner Silver Linings Restaurant Inc., had already assumed control over day-to-day operations at Shark Bar & Grille, but he abruptly backed out of the deal earlier this month, according to Stephen Del Sesto, the restaurant’s court-appointed receiver.

Del Sesto confirmed Shark will remain closed while he attempts to find a new buyer for the restaurant.

In October, Raymond Hugh, one of the former co-owners of the restaurant, was indicted on one charge that he bribed Fox, then a member of the Providence Board of Licenses, in exchange for a liquor license. Hugh pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Fox is already serving a three-year prison sentence after admitting he was paid $52,500 in exchange for the liquor license. He was also charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

Shortly after Fox pleaded guilty in March, another former co-owner of Shark, Bahij Boutros, filed a petition to place the business in receivership. The filing came after the city’s Board of Licenses moved to strip Shark of all of its business licenses.

Judge Michael Silverstein approved Silva’s $300,000 bid in August, even though Silva acknowledged he had no previous experience in the restaurant business. Silva also told the judge he is a friend of Boutros, but indicated the former owner would not have any role in the new restaurant.

Silva was expected to appear in front of the licensing board Thursday for a new liquor license, but the matter will likely be continued by the board, according to Del Sesto.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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