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Oklahoma City officials want a review of the Friday night raid of MidTown outdoor food market

Oklahoma City officials have voiced concerns about a raid at the Midtown outdoor food market.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: August 31, 2011
/articleid/3599753/1/pictures/1498630">Photo - Oklahoma City Councilman Skip Kelly <strong>PROVIDED</strong>
Oklahoma City Councilman Skip Kelly PROVIDED

Kelly said he frequently sees food trucks downtown doing business free of spot inspections.

“This was overreaching in one area, and it's unfair,” Kelly said. “I'm not saying turn your head the other way on these violations. But if you can't get two or three people to go out and work northeast Oklahoma City and address issues because it would require overtime, but you can get all these people out to south Oklahoma City, how is that right?”

Problems revealed

The health department board consists of commissioners appointed by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Oklahoma County commissioners. Brian Maughn, who represents the county's second district, said he visited with health board member Scott Mitchell and is convinced mistakes were made when all 16 health inspectors visited Friday night's market.

“They shouldn't have left vehicles, they should have let three or four (inspectors) do their job,” Maughn said. “There wasn't a need for an overkill presence. And they have been instructed not to do that again.”

Maughn agreed with Salyer that all sides should meet, examine the regulations and see whether safety can be maintained while simplifying rules for operating food trucks and staging events like H&8th.

John Maisch, legal counsel for ABLE, said Tuesday he is advising the agency's directors to scrutinize its role in the raid.

Maisch noted that twice in the past year his agency caught potential problems with the sale of alcohol at upcoming outdoor events, contacted organizers in advance and helped find ways to work through potential license violations.

In May, when organizers were convinced they would have to cancel a draft brew festival in Bricktown, Maisch said it was his agency that worked with them to find a legal way to proceed.

Such communication, however, did not occur before the Friday night market, and ABLE agents decided to conduct a surprise visit after reading the event would include alcohol sold by co-organizer Jonathon Stranger, co-owner of nearby Ludivine.

“We need to have a full review of the agents that evening,” Maisch said. “And I hope we reach out to the licensee. Not the agents, but the administration. They need to reach out and see that their concerns are addressed.”

Massenat said that she believes everyone is now working to ensure the next market is trouble-free.

“I feel like because I knew I didn't have a permit and decided to hold the event, I don't have any complaining to do,” Massenat said. “But I would like to go ahead with the event. And if we can improve how we can go through applying for permits for these events, it's better off for all. I just want a way to find a way forward.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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