Police in Jacksonville, Florida arrested two local health inspectors following allegations they coerced restaurant managers to bribe them, so they’d look the other way when they found critical violations.
WTEV reports police are refusing to name those restaurants to Action News and say they won’t be charged with any crime. "We are not releasing them because of the investigation," said Sheriff John Rutherford.
The sheriff stood firm, refusing to say which 17 local restaurants had crucial violations, and paid off food inspectors to hide them. Violations included, roaches or unsanitary food condition. The restaurants could’ve faced fines or even be forced to shut down.
Instead, the sheriff says the owners gave hundreds of dollars to Moses Davis and Steven Rivera to give them a clean report. Even more surprising, the sheriff says the restaurants aren’t facing charges. "I think they were coerced through the process," said the sheriff.
When we asked the state if these restaurants were re-inspected, they sent us a statement. "We are currently in the process of reassigning all of the establishments previously inspected by these individuals," said Dir. Of Communications Sandi Poreda.
The whole thing has restaurant owners like Jerry Moran fired up. "To have to pay off a state official to stay out of the way of government, a lot of us are sick and tired," said Jerry Moran.
But he’s not surprised it happened with how hard it is to pass state food inspections these days. "It depends on who the inspector is and how you play your cards," said restaurant owner Jerry Moran.