Fatima’s Psychic Studio Granted License Renewal Despite Numerous Complaints
We reported on this story earlier, it can be read here.
Salem, MA. – Regardless of the various complaints against Fatima’s Psychic Studio, the Licensing Board went ahead and renewed their fortunetelling license during the hearing on Oct. 29th. Some of the complaints include a customer who paid them over $16,000 to have a protective shield placed over him, as well as various other customers who paid large sums of money to have curses removed. Even though the board “reluctantly” decided to renew their license, they did place the business on a probation period that will last until the end of the year.
In an unforeseen move, the board’s lead investigator, Detective Sgt. James Page, began the hearing by retracting the police complaint. Basically what happened is that Page was unable to bring a complaint against the psychic business because of the fact that the business wasn’t licensed at the time when two recent alleged incidents happened.
The whole reason that Fatima’s Psychic Studio was even on the board getting reviewed and investigated is because several customers complained to authorities and when the authorities looked into the situation they found out that Fatima’s fortunetelling license had expired over a year ago. Now it appears that Fatima’s illegally running a business without the proper license actually worked in their favor, much to Page’s dismay.
“I don’t think you can ethically bring a charge of violation of a (fortunetelling) license because they didn’t have a valid license at the time,” said Page.
The complaint against the psychic studio that Page had filed on October 10th and retracted on October 29th involved four alleged violations that went back as far as 2003, two of them being more serious, as well as more recent.
Page states that no other psychics and fortunetellers in Salem have any complaints against them similar to the ones against Fatima’s.
One of the more serious allegations against the psychic studio comes from a West Henrietta, N.Y. man who complained to police about his first visit to Fatima’s in August of 2013 and ended up paying an employee there named Debbie over $16,000 during the course of several weeks for a protective shield she told him he must have, and for “channel angels” she convinced him he needed.
It is not known whether anything will be done about the man’s complaint, police Detective Dennis Gaudet is investigating it though.
During the hearing this week, the lawyer representing Fatima’s Psychic Studio named William Quinn told the board that a separate attorney in charge of the civil matter told him that “constructive and positive negotiations” are taking place between the studio and the customer, and that they expect it will result in an agreement to return the money to him.
Even though Page did not go forward with the Licensing Board situation, he did say that he filed a court complaint against the studio for operating a business without a license. Violating this ordinance carries a fine of $100 per day.
During the board meeting this week, there was a different psychic who has been in the business for 27 years named Rev. Barbara Szafranski who works for Angelica of the Angels who stated that she had several customers come into her business after seeing the psychics at Fatima’s and being told they “have auras that are warped” but were fine when she checked them out with her “aura machine”.
She said that she even set up a meeting several years ago with Harry Mitchell, the owner of Fatima’s, so that she could let him know about all of the complaints she was getting against him.
She told Mitchell during their meeting; “You have to speak to your girls.”
“This isn’t just now,” Szafranski told the board, “It’s been going on a wicked long time.”
Bill Legault is the councilor-at-large for the board and he advised them not decline renewing Fatima’s license. He also added though that if they did feel that for legal reasons they were obligated to renew their license, that he recommends doing so only if they place the business on a probationary period. The board took his advice and did place Fatima’s Psychic Studio on probation. Legault felt that the city could not allow a business to take advantage of it’s customers, especially the ones that went to them in a “vulnerable state”.
“This has happened in the past multiple times…” said Legault.
The Salem police have had several calls from previous customers of Fatima’s since the allegations surfaced this month, claiming that they to were offered the same service of removing a curse for a hefty price.
Fatima’s lawyer Quinn stated that Fatima’s Psychic Studio has been operating for 21 years and has only had a handful of complaints. He also added that the most current complaint from the West Henrietta man was the only complaint they have had against them that involves money.
Chairman of the board, Robert St. Pierre felt that the city would more than likely lose in court if they denied giving Fatima’s their license back and they took the case to court because they didn’t have any official complaints against them and because of the fact that the alleged violations happened back when the business was not licensed. He states that they were in a “legal conundrum” in the matter.
Even though the board renewed the business license to the studio, St. Pierre made sure to give the owner Harry Mitchell a stern and serious warning;
“You’re responsible for every one of your readers, and it appears to me that your readers are taking advantage of people in a bad state who are vulnerable,” he told Mitchell.
He stated that the studio was only “escaping the wrath of the board” due to legal technicalities.
The board member reminded Mitchell that the city’s ordinance on fortunetelling only allows for fortunes to be read, not for money to be charged for removing curses.
“This has to stop, because it can result, or most likely will result, in criminal charges,” Page told Mitchell.
Harry Mitchell is to return to the board in December to request his license renewal for the upcoming year.