O.C. Register digs up more of Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s conflicts of interest

UPDATE: This story is now being reported on KNX News Radio; KCBS TV News; the O.C. Register, the Total Buzz blog and the O.C. Weekly.  Still NO mention of it on the Liberal OC and Bolsavik blogs and only a link to a Register story on the Red County blog.

“Janet Nguyen was one of the strongest defenders of restaurateurs during Tuesday’s vote on making restaurant health inspections more consumer friendly. Turns out she has good reason to be sympathetic: Her husband and chief of staff are co-owners of a sandwich shop in Stanton and she reports income from her husband’s food-related job on her public disclosure,” according to the O.C. Register.

When I revealed yesterday that Nguyen’s husband, Tom Bonikowski, owns a Lee’s Sandwiches in Stanton, that received a major violation and several minor violations in July of this year, that turned out to be the tip of the iceberg with regard to Nguyen’s conflict of interest.

Bonikowski is also “a manager for Sodexho, a worldwide food services company. He works at the company’s Fullerton location, which provides on-campus food services at Fullerton College and is subject to health inspections. He brings in between $10,001 and $100,000 a year from his employment there, according to the Nguyen’s statement of economic interest.”

But wait, there’s more!  Nguyen’s “chief of staff, Andrew Do, is listed as the owner of the Lee’s Sandwich shop, according to a representative from the company’s corporate office.” Nguyen made it a priority to get Do elected to the Garden Grove City Council this year.

Nguyen said that the proposed change to a County restaurant rating system tnat would be “more consumer-friendly system such as the A-B-C grades in Los Angeles or color-coded placards,” would be “really devastating to restaurant owners.  I think in these difficult economic times, if the system isn’t broken, we should not go in and fix it.”

The other “supervisors echoed her concerns that color-coded and A-B-C grading systems could hurt restaurants by causing patrons to think a restaurant is unsafe when in reality, any problems a health inspector finds must be corrected before the inspector leaves. They also were concerned about the added annual cost to restaurant owners, which would have been no more than $7 a year for a color-coded system.”

Imagine that – a cost of only $7 a year would have given O.C. consumers a much better method of gauging the quality of local restaurants. I don’t care if a restaurant fixed their problems right away – I don’t want to eat at a place that has had major violations!

I wonder what grade Bonikowski’s restaurant would have received after their July inspection?  And I wonder why his restaurant has not been inspected again since July?

You can find out how your local restaurants have fared after inspections at this link.


The O.C. Register’s Total Buzz blog also covered this story at this link.  And the OC Weekly weighed in at this link. The Register also published this letter about the restaurant rating scandal:

Getting a good meal

It amazes me that with all the input from staff and the grand jury, the Board of Supervisors still decides that the public’s health and ability to easily pick a restaurant come last. Janet Nguyen is afraid of hurting restaurant owners [“Consumer-friendly ratings rejected,” Local, Dec. 17]. If they consistently receive a poor grade, and no one frequents their restaurants, whose fault is it?

When I’m out I don’t have the time to stop and look up a restaurant’s history on the Internet, and many people never have that ability. However, when I’m in L.A. County, even at Bradley Terminal at LAX, I can readily make a decision as to which restaurant I want to eat at. Thanks for nothing, again, supervisors.

Terrance Cramer

San Juan Capistrano

Still NO word about this at all over at the Liberal OC blog.  Why aren’t the Democrats at the Liberal OC going after the Supervisors and Nguyen in particular?  Doesn’t consumer safety matter to them at all?  I guess not!

The Red County blog did offer a link to the Register’s Watchdog story about this scandal, but that was it.  That figures as they generally cover up for local elected Republicans.

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