It cost $ 28,000 to investigate restaurant owner who defied COVID rules, city says • Long Beach Post News

The issue stems from an epic feud between Long Beach officials and Dana Tanner, the owner of the now-closed Restoration on Fourth Street.

His case began to rock the city last year when Tanner’s plans for a New Years party in Restoration became public. At this point, on-site dining was banned as health officials tried to tackle the winter wave of COVID-19 that pushed hospitals to the brink as thousands of Long Beach residents tested positive for the virus every week.

Over the following months, authorities repeatedly attempted to shut down Restauration, even cutting off the gas in Tanner’s kitchen, but she refused to comply. Tanner encouraged other businesses to break coronavirus rules and at one point operated a hacked gas line that caused a leak in the neighborhood, officials said.

The Long Beach City district attorney’s office ultimately filed 20 misdemeanor charges against Tanner, but the investigation did not cost much. In court documents on Friday, City Attorney Doug Haubert said it took hundreds of hours of work for two dozen police, code enforcement, gas and health officials. That totaled $ 28,471.30 in work time, he said.

Restaurant owner Dana Tanner wipes away a tear as she talks about her business in the months leading up to its closure in Long Beach. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

This is in addition to the more than $ 50,000 it cost the city to impose administrative penalties and then deal with Tanner’s appeals for actions such as revoking his health permit and removing his meter. gas, said deputy city attorney Art Sanchez.

Long Beach Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Frisco, who is handling the criminal case, said he would consider dismissing the charges if Tanner reimbursed the city for its “investigative costs,” according to court documents. But he said he wanted to focus only on the costs of the criminal case, not the more than $ 50,000 in administrative costs. (The city is not trying any other way to get this money back, Sanchez said: “All the city wanted was to get compliance.”)

The situation is in Frisco’s hands because Tanner has requested diversion, essentially asking him to intervene before trial and close the case as long as Tanner complies with the specific conditions he imposes. In the meantime, she has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies any involvement in the hacked gas line.

Tanner has previously said the situation has already taken its toll on him, including leading to abuse and harassment online. And when it closed Restoration in April, she donated her $ 50,000 of cooking equipment to a Long Beach nonprofit, according to her attorney, Bryan Schroeder.

In court on Friday, Schroeder did not dispute how much the city spent on Tanner’s case, but told the judge he did not believe Long Beach was entitled to reimbursement for the costs of a criminal investigation.

Frisco is expected to consider Tanner’s diversion request at a hearing on January 11.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that Long Beach has not requested the refund. The number was provided at the request of Frisco.

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