KOCH FOODS: The company that operates a chicken packaging factory in Fairfield recently paid $536,046 in fines for violating U.S. immigration laws. In August 2007, federal agents and Butler County sheriff’s deputies raided Koch’s factory on a tip from a citizen and arrested 161 undocumented immigrants who worked there plucking chickens. The raid was highly publicized by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, who’s made his career by cracking down on so-called “illegal aliens” and cozying up to the Fox News crowd. Meanwhile, the Illinois-based firm also lost a lawsuit last week filed by Tennessee workers who alleged Koch didn’t compensate them for time spent putting on and sanitizing protective gear.
CITY COUNCIL: When Cincinnati voters last November elected a sharply divided City Council, with erratic Republican Charlie Winburn as the swing vote between the factions, we predicted trouble.
Sure enough, the group has had problems agreeing on even simple items, like what rules to use for its meetings. Last week City Council delayed a vote on appointing three new board members to provide greater oversight for Invest In Neighborhoods, a contractor that doles out money for neighborhood projects. With one council member absent, backers didn’t have enough votes and Winburn began seeking concessions for his support. It’s going to be a long year with this crowd in office. Speaking of which…
KEVIN FLYNN: Flynn, the Mount Airy attorney who ran unsuccessfully for council last year as a Charterite, has a stellar idea that we hardily endorse. He proposes a charter amendment that would require any Cincinnati City Council member who wants to seek another public office to resign from council first before launching a campaign. We agree. Too many council members in the past have viewed their seats merely as a launching pad to higher office. Still, the current motley crew at City Hall has taken this trend to laughable heights. Of the nine current council members, four of them — Laketa Cole, Leslie Ghiz, Chris Monzel and Cecil Thomas — announced campaigns within weeks of winning their latest terms.
JEAN-ROBERT de CAVEL: The beloved master chef got the OK from a judge last week to open a new restaurant downtown anytime after March 1. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Steve Martin ruled that’s when a one-year non-compete clause that de Cavel had with his ex-business partner, Martin Wade, expires. Wade had argued the clause should still be in effect because de Cavel holds a minority stake in Wade’s restaurant group, but Martin decided it no longer was in effect because de Cavel was removed as manager of the Jean-Robert at Pigall’s eatery at the end of February 2009. As a result, he can move ahead with plans for a new restaurant at the former Buddakhan site on Vine Street. 09