Marco Senghor, locally beloved owner of Senegalese restaurant and dance club Bissap Baobab, has taken a plea deal to a lesser charge in his immigration case. That means federal prosecutors won’t immediately seek to have his citizenship removed, Mission Local reports, but it doesn’t change Senghor’s plans to sell his business and building, which he finally bought from his landlord in 2017.
Bissap Baobab will close, while its predecessor, the smaller Little Baobab, will remain in place. Meanwhile, a representative for Bissap Baobab tells Eater that a new Baobab will eventually open in Oakland.
Senghor was arrested last summer by federal authorities, who claimed he illegally obtained US citizenship. Senghor pleaded guilty yesterday to making false claims in his citizenship application: He said he lived with a woman whom he later legally married, but they actually hadn’t met until the ceremony, prosecutors said, and they never lived together afterward. Eventually they divorced.
Senghor, who said he took full responsibility for his actions and apologized to the court yesterday, won’t face immediate denaturalization. He awaits sentencing in August: A maximum sentence would be ten years in prison, which Senghor’s legal team hopes is highly unlikely. Going forward, Senghor could still face civil proceedings for denaturalization.
“I worked very hard to establish my restaurant as a place where people from the neighborhood could come and feel safe and happy, while sharing with them my own Senegalese culture in addition to other international cultures through music and food,” Senghor said to the court yesterday according to Mission Local.
In a message sent to Eater SF before his trial, Senghor wrote: “I love my community and I will do the best to keep Baobab alive.”
- Bissap Baobab owner Marco Senghor pleads guilty of using sham marriage in pursuit of citizenship [Mission Local]
- Feds will not immediately revoke citizenship of Bissap Baobab owner Marco Senghor — but trouble still looms [Mission Local]
- Senegalese Dance Club Bissap Baobab Will Close as Owner Fights Immigration Case [ESF]
- Bissap Baobab Owner Arrested, Fighting Charges He Illegally Obtained Citizenship [ESF]