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Isabella’s Oven Owner Accuses Board Members of Anti-Italian Sentiment

Isabella’s Oven Owner Accuses Board Members of Anti-Italian Sentiment

Photo: Courtesy of Isabella's Oven

Teresa Rizzo-Marino has 24 hours to vacate her baby, Isabella’s Oven, and she’s not happy about it. She tells us that she was unfairly ousted by the Seward Park Housing Corporation’s board, which claims she owes $70,000, or about a year of back rent. Marino, a former schoolteacher, says she fell behind on the rent because she spent $300,000 renovating and rat-proofing the restaurant and garden (she had hoped the board would reimburse some of that, but claims they ignored her requests). “I was subjected to mental abuse,” she tells us. “They told me to sign over the whole store and [that] they’d forget about what I owed if I gave them the pizza recipe.” Marino is hoping to reopen her establishment elsewhere, but says the board is trying to retain the name “Isabella’s Oven” and may plan to reopen the pizzeria themselves. The most serious of her accusations revolves around what she calls “ethnic discrimination” — “they discriminate against Italian people, non-Kosher places, any little thing they can find. I’ve never met people like this in my life.”

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