Oakland’s Bissap Baobab Restaurant Owner Faces Deportation 


Marco Senghor, owner of Bissap Baobab, is charged with obtaining citizenship illegally. He has pleaded not guilty. Photo courtesy of Mission Local

Marco Senghor, owner of the popular Senegalese restaurant and nightclub Bissap Baobab (with locations in both San Francisco and Oakland), is being charged with obtaining his citizenship illegally.

“The future of the Bissap Baobab Village that we have built together is uncertain, but I am dedicated to preserving it,” Senghor wrote in a public Facebook post about his arrest.

Friday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m., the public is invited to join Senghor at the original San Francisco location (3372 19th St.) for a “We Are Bissap Baobab Village Photo Shoot,” to show support for Senghor and the community he has fostered.

The Oakland location is featured in a scene of Boots Riley’s popular Oakland-centric film, “Sorry to Bother You,” just released this summer. “This is terrible,” Riley said in a re-post of Senghor’s Facebook post. “He’s been a vibrant part of our community for at least 30 years. Probably more.”

On Aug. 2, Senghor pleaded not guilty to the charges. He hired defense attorney Jeffrey L. Bornstein of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP to represent him in the legal battle—a process which Senghor expects to be the fight of his life.

Last October, Senghor purchased the San Francisco restaurant’s building from Facebook executive Owen Van Natta for a reported $1.6 million. This, he thought, was securing his position and a home for his restaurant. Now, he faces deportation and federal charges of “Procurement of Citizenship for a Person Not Entitled to Citizenship” and “Procurement of Citizenship Contrary to Law,”according to federal court filings.

Senghor and his supporters have set up a GoFundMe account to assist with his legal fees.

To donate to Senghor’s legal defense fund, visit https://www.gofundme.com/marco-senghor-legal-defense-fund.


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