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The Worcester License Commission Gave Out Liquor Licenses To A Convicted Drug Dealer Spending Millions Of Dollars Because Apparently No One Can Google Anymore

The Worcester License Commission Gave Out Liquor Licenses To A Convicted Drug Dealer Spending Millions Of Dollars Because Apparently No One Can Google Anymore

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Is Worcester turning into Providence? Seems like it’s trying to. Providence has a beautiful downtown with awesome shopping and restaurants. But the second you start traveling south it looks like shit. Worcester is more of a residential city. Downtown looks like shit and no one wants to visit us, but the entire West Side (which probably has close to 60,000 people), is like a mega suburb of single family homes and people walking their dogs.

But Providence didn’t get that way by accident. The city was run by Buddy Cianci for years, and the guy was basically a mobster. He handed out city contracts to whoever bribed him the most, and he treated the city police force like they were the foot soldiers of his empire. But during this time he made downtown Providence what it is today, which is why he was viewed as a “great mayor,” despite serving five years in prison for racketeering.

So since the city of Providence was basically built the mob and drug money, it looks like Worcester’s urban renewal is taking the same battle plan. Check out the latest scandal:

When Worcester-based restaurant group Niche Hospitality sold its prime Shrewsbury Street location to an entrepreneur looking to get into the restaurant business last year, president Michael Covino had high hopes the property would continue the legacy created by Niche restaurants Mezcal and later The Fix Burger Bar. “Clearly we were in the dark,” Covino said during an interview Wednesday morning.

That entrepreneur, Kevin A. Perry Jr., who went on to convert the former Niche property into The Usual, a gourmet sandwich restaurant, was arrested and indicted Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts on nine counts of money laundering, three counts of aggravated cash structuring, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and one count of distribution of fentanyl.

“It’s disheartening on a lot of levels,” said Covino who says he wanted to help the new business owner, but did not know Perry had previously been convicted on drug charges and served time in prison. 


Authorities now allege Perry used drug money last year to finance nine properties and fund renovations at The Usual and The Blackstone Tap, a Water Street bar and restaurant he purchased from Jefferson Mararian, of Northborough, last year. Covino, who’s Niche Hospitality Group arguably launched the Worcester dining renaissance more than a decade ago and has made Worcester icons out of Mezcal, The Fix, Bocado Tapas Wine Bar and The Citizen, said there was nothing that tipped him off that Perry was anything but an entrepreneur with business experience, backed by a bank loan and hungry to dive into Worcester’s booming restaurant scene.

“The way he came across was professional,” Covino said of Perry, who approached Niche about buying the location. “Kevin’s attorney was someone we knew and he had a loan from the bank. We don’t do background checks on people who want to make a purchase. The bank does that.”

Covino said he and his staff helped Perry get The Usual off the ground.  “We wanted it to be successful for a lot of reasons,” Covino said. “We made a lot of memories there.” Niche first opened Mezcal at the location in 2007 before it outgrew the space and moved. The Fix followed and later outgrew the space as well. 

Alright, first of all, love Niche Hospitality. Can’t say enough good things about Bocado and The Fix in particular. Some of the best food in Worcester. Mike Covino is a well respected, and probably very rich and successful businessman, whose businesses contribute a significant amount of taxes to the city. These are good things. 

But at the same time, how do you not do a background check when you’re selling a piece of property to someone for half a million dollars? I could understand if you were just desperate for a buyer. But not when your motivation for selling to this guy is that you wanted his business to be successful for the sentimental reasons. It’s one thing if you just say, “Yea, I’m doing this because this guy is the highest bidder.” But if you care about the alleged character of this piece of property, and you want to make sure it falls into capable hands, why wouldn’t you do a background check? 

This is where it gets ridiculous…..

Covino said Niche’s creative staff and chefs worked with Perry’s staff to help plan the new restaurant. In fact, Covino appeared before the License Commission on Aug. 11, 2016 along with Perry’s wife, Stacey Perry, as part of the all-alcohol license application for The Usual. Stacey identified herself to the commission as Stacey Gala (her maiden name). Kevin Perry, who at that point had a past drug conviction and would have been ineligible to receive a license, did not testify at the hearing. 

In November of last year in a MassLive story on the opening of The Usual, Perry lauded Covino and his staff for their assistance. 

“He’s been with me every step of the way, helping us with different renovation ideas, staffing, discussing the details,” Perry said. “He’s been a godsend for us. I’ve learned more in the past two or three months than I could’ve ever learned by myself.”

Alright. So a convicted drug dealer and jailhouse snitch wants to open up a restaurant and needs a liquor license. So he goes in front of the License Commission, but he can’t speak because his prior convictions made him ineligible for a license.

And everyone was just, COOL with this?? Covino and Perry’s wife Stacey, who apparently is young and hot and has a thing for ex-cons, did the speaking for him while he did a sodoku in the corner. But why would Covino feel the need to help him get a liquor license? The sale was done, wasn’t it? More importantly, did the License Commission think that Perry would have nothing to do with the restaurant? I mean, it’s his freaking wife!! Do they not use Google either?? Does no one use Google anymore?


Anyway, Mike Covino can’t be blamed for any of this. He has no reason to purposely associate his good name with someone this shady. Too much to lose. Sounds like he learned a valuable lesson here that Turtleboy learned a long time ago – the Internet is your friend.

But here’s the thing – this is basically the same blueprint that made Providence a nice looking city. Don’t get me wrong, drugs are bad and drug dealers are scum. But here’s the question – would you rather have another Blackstone Tap on Water Street, or another Mambo Drink? The fact of the matter is that this guy exists, and he made a shit ton of money selling drugs. So how would you like that money to be spent? On a vacation for him and his junior smokeshow wife? Sitting in the evidence room collecting dust? Or on two nice restaurants that attract non-ratchet clientele? Just sayin.

P.S. This came up when we searched for Kevin Perry in Worcester. If this is him (which it looks a lot like him) then apparently he also dabbles in modeling. No nudes though.

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42 Comment(s)
  • Mag
    March 31, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Anyone ever think to look into how perrys wife was in pharmaceutical school for a while. Just throwing that out there

  • Jon
    March 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Wonder who hes planning to snitch on this time to not do mando 10yrs. That fetalnyl killed aton of people in worcester. Piece of shit.

  • Lenny
    March 24, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I would love to stick my cock deep inside his wife’s hairy snatch

  • Woodiculous
    March 24, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I’ve done business with Covino and his team. First rate individuals and they have ZERO onblig
    gation to run backround checks on someone who is buying a piece of property from you. ZERO.

    The reason that he went to the license commissiion is that sales of properties like this (with ongoing businesses) are almost always conditional upon the buyer getting the permits needed to continuing running a business (in the case a restaurant with liquor license). It is routine.

    If you’ve been to The Usual, it is pretty clear tyhat the business was set up for the wife. She is the one that is there, along with the GM. I’ve never seen the husband there-not that I’m defending him at all. He’s getting the time for the crime that he did (allegedly) if the feds prove it in court.

    The wife, who is not accused of any crimes, is completely entitled to apply for and hold a liquor license and the other licenses needed to operate a restaurant. Until she is convicted of anythiong (and remember, she isn’t even accused) she should continue to be able to support herself with the business. My 2 cents.

    • March 24, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Usually women who are married to men who sell drugs open businesses under their names in order for her husband to wash money through her business.

      Make sense? He can wash so much money through a restaurant business, it’s an ideal situation for a drug dealer.

      • Woodiculous
        March 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        I’m betting that hubby owns the real estate and wifey owns the business and pays him rent. I think that this has actually been reported.

        It would be an ideal situation to launder cash in 1970, but restaurants deal in increasingly smaller amounts of cash every day. The last time that I ate at The Usual I paid by credit card and tipped the server in cash. The owner never gets that cash.

        You could be saying that that they use phony diners buying phony meals (especially with credit cards so there is not obvious cash investigation target that is higher than neighboring restaurants) to run money through the business, and that the rent is based on a percentage of those sales as a way to launder cash. That is certainly a smarter way to do it, until the feds start looking at your inventory and vendor orders and match it up to what you claim in sold meals. It is still better than trying to push cash through, but they wouldn’t be the forst to try to fool the feds with it.

  • Independent Thinker
    March 24, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Check the contract. Usually when someone buys a business, there is a non-compete clause, or there is some type of agreement where the former owner/staff/management stay on to assist in the transition. Otherwise, nobody would buy this type of business knowing that the clientele will simply follow the former business to it’s location. And nobody does a background check on someone buying real estate or a business unless there is some type of contract where the new owner makes monthly payments to the old owner.

  • Jane smith
    March 24, 2017 at 5:43 am

    She’s only a smoke show because he probably paid for all her plastic surgery. Pretty sure she works at hooters too

    • Slow Apocalypse
      March 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Yeah Jane I’m sure the millionaire wife is pushing tables at hooters. She does not look like she’s had work done maybe a touch in the face but your acting like she’s some bleach blonde silicone fake doll. I think you have hated every woman that’s ever looked better than you. Am I onto something here?

  • Adam
    March 24, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Kaboodles in Spencer was always shady. I liked to eat there occasionally, something different. I always said it was a front for something it was open for like 15 18 years an NOONE was ever in there. One guy sat ya he took your order cooked your food delivered your food made your drink gave you your bill. There was no way to sustain the cost of opening a restaurant everyday without any customers. Great meal nice guy but something was going on there.

  • March 24, 2017 at 12:16 am

    So way back when I first moved to MA I would go to Jose Murphy’s every once in a while with some friends (I was younger, always left before the bad crowd got there) and this dude was always sitting at the front door. He would always talk to myself and my lady friends. He introduced himself to all of the women as the “silent owner” of JM’s. Other then that, he was very quiet and actually quite respectful. Very short though he stands close to my height at 5’1.

    I always felt like he was off… but I never would have guessed he was a drug dealing, money laundering criminal….that’s for sure. I kind of always thought he was maybe gay or bisexual lol…

    • BobnMic
      March 24, 2017 at 2:06 am

      I hope you do not mind me responding to your comment. If so let me now. And it is not a dig, please trust me on that, I just have info you may or may not find interest in on what you just posted that’s all.

      But I have to tell you that idiot at the door at ‘Jose Murphy’s’ was no silent partner. He was more than likely trying to score some tail. I know the owners of then ‘Jose Murphy’s’, currently owners of ‘Funky Murphy’s’ at 305 Shrewsbury Street along with them having a hand in ownership of ‘Quinn’s Irish Pub’ at 715 West Boylston St.

      I will not mention their names out of respect but they are from South Boston for not too many years ago originally from Ireland born and raised. They still speak with the heavy Irish Brogue. But in the late 90’s – mid 2000’s making the commute back and forth to Worcester from Southie in order to take over the old ‘Main Street Brewery,’ a business owned by an investment group from Long Island, NY that was located at 266 Main Street when they then converting it into ‘The Irish Times.’

      When it was Main Street Brewery – Back then no one cared about 5 offered micro brews, no other beer, and just wine for drinks. There was an old MA blue law in effect back then that later got repealed which later included the allowed sale of hard liquor in addition in a brewery making beer establishment. Plus other beer besides micro. The Boston Beer Works Company on Brookline Avenue outside of Fenway Park spearheaded that campaign if I remember correctly.

      But by then Main Street Brewery was lost because the women were not interested in the place. The place was clean, nice looking and safe but the beer was just ok. The wine was what it was so onto the next bar that offered more so the girls flocked to them. Shabooms was across the street where the courthouse is now located along with the Palladium Theatre and other places within walking distance. And so with no women in the brewery there is no business. That’s just how it works.

      The new laws took too long to come into effect so the NY group folded, went back to NY, then on came the Irish dudes from Southie.

      Those guys are great and I still keep in touch with them. They eventually moved in and around Worcester and are doing very well for themselves and for their families.

      Ok so my point was again? Damn.

      • BobnMic
        March 24, 2017 at 2:31 am

        Oh ya shit brain fart – The Southie Irish dudes sold the business at ‘The Irish Times’ because they were leasing the building and the rent was increasing. In addition more and more structural damage, the roof in particular, was occurring during heavy snow storms as that used to be the old Coughlan Furniture Company in a building built in the 1800’s. Cheaper to get out of the lease and start your own shit. They did that. Jose was first. Funky was second. Quinn’s is third. And the beat goes on. But that little creep at Jose had nothing to do with any of this.

        • March 24, 2017 at 10:12 am

          I get what you’re saying… He can still be a silent partner though. Silent partners (especially a drug dealing douche) will never be on any paperwork. I doubt he was just working the door for ID verification, he earned too much money as a drug dealer to waste his time doing that.

          He was either a silent partner l, or used his position at the door as a front for income and a way to sell drugs inconspicuously.

          Either way he never came off as a scumbag but maybe because I’m a woman. Who knows how he treated men at the door.

        • TurtleBook
          March 24, 2017 at 10:20 am

          No one gives a shit, queef-basket

  • Iswearonmymom
    March 23, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    True story, I know three garages a tow company another restaurant a gym a car wash a salon a barbershop a gas station a bar a car dealership and about 50 3 deckers in Worcester and Webster owned by one black kid who sold so much crack. I even sent a message to the wpd four years ago and they didn’t care. Kid makes make over 15k a day selling crack in Worcester and other towns and all these other companies in other people’s names but people are paid so who cares. Gotta love this country.

    • Dgaf
      March 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      We’ll that’s one hell of an entrepreneur

  • John Barker
    March 23, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    There is no debate…You want nice things, find good honest business people tov buy and run them….

  • Rob
    March 23, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Mind your f……buisness people who cares what or how he makes his money

  • Douche
    March 23, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    This douche tried to murder me twenty some odd years ago for dating this girl. “Meet me outside of Quinsig and I’ll kick your ass”. Karma…

    • Aet229
      March 23, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      Piece of shit you are

  • LLC
    March 23, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    “Bombshell wife”?

    Ya ummmm no.

    • OK
      March 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      My first thought too, not even for Worcester.

  • Jon
    March 23, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Whats up with the fentanyl. Was he pressing the fake blue perc 30tys? That shit kills everyone. Walter white phyco. Bet if ye didnt buy the fancy restaurants hed still be free today.

  • Questionable
    March 23, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Perry was busted by the feds in 2002. So he should or was on the law enforcement radar since or even before. Took them this long to bust him ?

  • Joe
    March 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Providence seems like that it’s reverting back to before Cianci was mayor. It’s going back to crap hole that it used to be. This time it’s not the mafia that is bringing it down.

    • Turtlefan
      March 23, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      It’s become a leftist shithole

  • Coach
    March 23, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Coach likes Niche. Some of the best grub in the Woo.
    But Coach would be curious to know when the felonious Perry first came to know the folks at Niche. It costs a lot of money to open and renovate establishments. Any chance Mr. Perry has been a silent partner for years?

    • Chris
      March 23, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      No – no chance. The guys that own Niche have worked very hard for what they have built.

  • Wabbitt
    March 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Hey, I’d rather have the actual mob fixing shit up than the McGovern Crime Family tearing everything down.

    Cianci was a crook, but he got shit done.

    • WHAT?
      March 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      And Mussolini made the trains run on time!

      • The commuter
        March 23, 2017 at 8:20 pm

        What I wouldn’t give for a commuter rail train to run on time…

    • Cracker Jack
      March 23, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      I’m with the bunny. The mob would keep away the smelly man-bunned granola hippies.

      • Wabbitt
        March 23, 2017 at 8:02 pm

        And RBG and the rest of the Mosaic Mafia would have been swimming with the fishes at the bottom of Coes Pond the second they got out of line. Sounds like a good deal.

  • ZephyrCat
    March 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Does the ends justify the means? Connecticut is all about that. Bridgeport mayor Joe Ganim from 1991-2003. 7 years in jail for racketeering, extortion and bribery. Got out 2010, re-elected 2015. Ta-da!!! I guess no one else was capable? I kept hearing all the good stuff he did too. So I guess you turn your head to the bad stuff and keep your fingers crossed. Connecticut is full of politicians who’ve spent as much time in jail as in office.

  • Joe
    March 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Providence is an overrated dump. There’s only a small section worth seeing anyway.

  • Talisman
    March 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Maybe, but well-off dealers that have enough money get things done all the time while others either know and choose to look the other way, or suspect and choose not to know. Especially when the campaigns, um, I mean skids are being greased.

  • Brian Albrecht
    March 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    I’m a gimp and I like it in my ass.

    • brian albrecht (the real one)
      March 23, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Yo, stop doggin me yo! I ain’t no motherfuckin gimp like that dude in Pulp Fiction! But I gotta admit when I watched that movie when I was young and impressionable…..BOING!!!! That shit got hard yaknowimsayin??? Damn! The sight of a big black dude bent over with a ball gag in his mouth? Thats the shit I’m talkin about! LLLEEETTTSSSS GGGGOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • Mark D
    March 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Evolve Fitness is a pretty nice gym but there’s never anybody there. I don’t know how that gym stays in business.

  • Stalin Abreu
    March 23, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I can’t blame the guy. I’m a little stoopid that way too. Who knew people could look shit up? Aiy! Dios mio!

    • Lillian
      March 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Oh My boo, why did you have to bring our business to such a foul place?

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