The owner of Iron Waffle Coffee Co. now faces a 120,000 fine for running his business without a license for repeatedly violating the governor’s epidemic-driven executive order.
During a hearing in Zoom Court on Thursday, September, Ramsay County Judge Laura Nelson agreed with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, requesting a 1,000 fine – for which the Minnesota health inspector found the business for days working without a food and beverage license. Nelson also agreed to suspend the fine order for 30 days at the request of Iron Waffle owner Stacey Stran’s attorney, a period Nelson said gave the parties an “offramp” opportunity to negotiate a settlement to the case. Meanwhile, the next step in the case is court-directed mediation.
“If Iron Waffle continues to operate without a license, it’s a contempt of court,” Nelson said. “There is a way to challenge the decision that you do not agree with. There is a process, and it is not. “
A hearing came Thursday on behalf of Assistant Attorney General Catherine Voss, representing the Minnesota Department of Health, seeking the court to enforce the June 22 contempt order in mid-August. At that speed, Voss demanded a 62,000 fine as well as a $ 22,000 fine, in addition to Judge John H.
In the intervening weeks, however, the Minnesota Department of Health continues to inspect the business and it operates for another 18 days without a license, the equivalent of সম্ভাব 2,000 per day in the potential fine requested by Vohus on Thursday.
“That subtle request may seem superior, but Iron Waffle has always controlled the amount of that fine through the Stacey Strain,” Voss said. “… They cannot continue working because they do not agree with the final decision made by the department nine months ago. The law is no exception for those who do not agree with the law. ”
Vohs said health department officials are not happy about the continued execution of orders. He said the department is seeking consent through financial pressure, and will not ask the court to exercise its underlying authority to issue a warrant for Strain’s arrest. However, the right to seek those consequences in the future will be reserved.
“It has been 49 times that the department has had to send a visitor to this restaurant using its resources, just to see if it is open,” Voss said. “(He) has endangered public health by operating without a license. The amount of the fine is high, but it is high for a reason. ”
Attorney Richard Dahl, who represents Strain, said his client was not a threat to public health and instead the state was the subject of a relentless campaign to abuse his political power and fraudulently revoke his license.
The latest requests from the state are part of an ongoing civil lawsuit against Iron Waffle that first began in December 2020. After months of inspections, fines and other administrative measures failed to prevent the business from disobeying the executive order, the next step in the lawsuit was related to the need to use and accept masks while continuing operations. Prior to the court’s contempt results, on May 18, Guthman approved a state proposal for a temporary ban, which sought to bar Iron Waffle from operating without his license, which was first rescinded in December.
Dahl argued Thursday that the health department lacks the authority to revoke licenses in the first place under the emergency powers of official Tim Wallace. Dahl also sued the state agency for failing to properly inform Strain of the withdrawal, depriving him of the right to appeal the decision in due course and within the timeframe allowed by law. He asserted that his confession had been obtained through torture and that his confession had been obtained through torture.
“They have abused the law and announced here that they are going to twist the emergency powers law and allow the governor to act as a dictator on all matters of law,” Dahl said.