Northern Minnesota restaurant fined for operating with revoked license due to COVID-19 violations | www.WDIO.com

Northern Minnesota restaurant fined for operating with revoked license due to COVID-19 violations

Iron Waffle Coffee Co.  http://www.theironwaffle.com/nisswa-menu/ Iron Waffle Coffee Co. http://www.theironwaffle.com/nisswa-menu/ |  Photo: Mark Bonica / CC BY 2.0

Tommy Wiita
Created: September 15, 2021 04:25 PM

The owner of a northern Minnesota breakfast restaurant is facing thousands of dollars in fines after continuing to run operations out of the business that had its license revoked for repeated violations of Gov. Tim Walz's COVID-19 pandemic-driven executive orders.

Court filings indicate the owner of Iron Waffle Coffee Co., Stacy Stranne, is facing $120,000 in fines.

A Zoom court hearing held on Thursday, Sept. 9 featured Ramsey County Judge Laura Nelson agreeing with the request from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office to issue a $98,000 fine; $2,000 for each of the 49 days of which a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) inspector found the business operating without a food and beverage license.

The judge agreed to postpone the fine order for 30 days at the request of the owner's attorney. In the meantime, the next step involves court-ordered mediation. 

The recent hearing was brought on by an expedited motion from Assistant Attorney General Kaitrin Vohs. She represented MDH last month, seeking enforcement of the court's June 22 contempt order.

In that motion, Vohs sought a $62,000 fine in addition to the $22,000 fine already ordered by Judge John Guthmann. 

Vohs noted that health department officials had to check if the business was open 49 times.

The latest requests from the state and MDH are part of an ongoing civil lawsuit against the business that was first initiated in December 2020.

After months of inspections, fines and other administrative actions performed and failed, the state then moved to a lawsuit to prevent Iron Waffle from disobeying executive orders regarding masks and takeout requirements while continuing operations.

After the license was originally revoked in December, the state motioned and was granted temporary injunctions, which attempted to prevent the business from operating without its license. 

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Tommy Wiita

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