Former owner of Jumbo Buffet facing federal charges

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By Amanda Manning

 The reason why Jumbo Buffet was under investigation earlier this year has been revealed in a federal case.

Federal investigators have charged Fei Tang, who used to own the Jumbo Buffet in La Grange, with harboring illegal aliens.

The 41-page federal complaint focuses on Tang’s Shelbyville restaurant, but also the investigation into the La Grange restaurant.

Tang has family members that operate restaurants across the state, including Jenny Zhu, who owns Jumbo Buffet in La Grange.

In January, Zhu told the Era that federal authorities raided her La Grange home before going to Jumbo Buffet.

“Everything was ransacked a little bit,” Jumbo Buffet Manager Amber Huff said. “They came in and tables were turned upside down. The whole place, it looked like a tornado had run through it.”

Oldham County Code Enforcement was also called to the scene and deemed her home an unsafe structure for habitation because of plumbing and electrical violations.

“They took everything,” Zhu told the Era in January. “We’re scared. My kids are scared today. We are heartbroken. In the night time at the hotel, we’re still scared, I think about them maybe coming back in.”

Zhu is married to Jay Tang. Fei Tang, Jay Tang, Jun Haung, and Jenny Zhu are all listed as company officers of Jumbo Buffet, according to court documents.

Court documents also reveal that a federal investigator initially focused his investigation in La Grange at Zhu and Tang’s home and at Jumbo Buffet.

“Keats observed six to seven individuals exit the vehicle, including two persons released from the car’s hatchback cargo area,” court documents state about the home.

Authorities also investigated the Tang family, including Zhu. “All subjects were Chinese nationals who had entered the United States without inspection and filed asylum claims in the state of New York between 1990 and 2007,” according to court documents.

Tang was sentenced to eight months in prison and three years supervised released for employing illegal workers at Jumbo Buffet in 2009.

Tang pleaded guilty to knowingly employing at least 10 illegal workers at the Chinese buffet from Nov. 2006 to Nov. 2007, according to a previous Era article.

ICE seized approximately $59,000 from the restaurant and detained six illegal aliens working at the restaurant in the 2007 case.

Zhu is not facing any charges.