Woman says she's being threatened after sharing video of dead rat in Tarks of Dania Beach

Lawyers claim former employee planted rodent in restaurant

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

DANIA BEACH, Fla. - The woman who shot and posted video of a rodent inside a popular South Florida restaurant said she's now being threatened.

Lawyers for Tarks of Dania Beach claim Maria Guzman not only made false statements about the restaurant but actually planted the rodent in the kitchen.

As Local 10 News first reported Thursday night in its Dirty Dining segment, a state inspector ordered Tarks shut Monday because of rodent problem.

Guzman's video has gone viral. She posted a 56-second rant on social media July 3.

Guzman said she shot the video June 9 when she was working at Tarks and has a video stamp on her phone to prove it.

The video shows a dead rodent on the floor in the back kitchen area.

"We have told the owner, 'Please fix this,'" Guzman said in the video. "He doesn't want to fix it. He doesn't care. No problem. Here is video evidence."

Guzman has now been slapped with a cease-and-desist-letter.

Lawyers for Ted Itzoe, the owner of Tarks, claim Guzman is defaming the restaurant and made false statements.

Attorney Ryan Tables also claims Guzman planted the dead rodent, had been fired and was trespassing on the property when she shot the video.

Guzman said that isn't true. She provided Local 10 News with a text she sent to another employee in May which she said proves there was an ongoing rodent problem at Tarks.

Tarks has been a fixture on Federal Highway, south of Stirling Road, since 1966.

A state inspector showed up at Tarks unannounced Monday and found exactly what Guzman talked about her video. Among the 27 violations, there was a dead rodent in a back room and rodent droppings.

In a statement sent to Local 10 News, Itzoe said the video was posted by a "disgruntled former employee who was terminated for poor workmanship."

Guzman has had to hire an attorney of her own.

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.