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Washington Twp. Officials Promise Personnel Investigation After Restaurant Fined

Gyros & Goodies allegedly received a $1,000 fine for electrical work before an inspector visited the restaurant.

Gyros & Goodies has a temporary sign advertising their appearance on the Food Network. Photo: Jim Leggate.
Gyros & Goodies has a temporary sign advertising their appearance on the Food Network. Photo: Jim Leggate.
Washington Township officials are undergoing an personnel investigation after a restaurant was allegedly issued a violation for electrical work without receiving a visit from an inspector, administrator Catherine Navarro-Steinel said last week.

Gyros & Goodies owner Terry Kipriadis previously told Patch that she had received a citation for electrical work with a $1,000 fine after the restaurant appeared on an episode of Food Network show "Restaurant Divided." The inspector had not come, but instead issued the violation after receiving a tip from an un-named source, she said.

The results of Navarro-Steinel's investigation most likely won't go public, as personnel matters are handled in closed session unless the employee in question chooses to open council discussions to the public.

Navarro-Steinel said that she expected the restaurant wouldn't have to pay the fine, as it would be easy to correct the alleged violation. She previously explained that the fines are used to assist in compliance and anyone issued a citation should have a chance to fix it first.

Kipriadis, who denied she had done anything wrong, said she was suspicious about the timing of the citation because it was dated from the same day Mayor Janet Sobkowicz called her to request she take down a banner advertising the restaurant's appearance on the Food Network.

Sobkowicz said the timing was coincidental.

Several residents questioned why Gyros & Goodies had received the citation during last week's council meeting. Michael Ullman asked why the restaurant had been singled out when other signs at the Washington Town Center also seemingly violate the township sign ordinance.

"I understand that someone may have called, but... there are other signs that are in violation," he said.

David Snyde, a resident and real estate agent, said he was concerned that the negative publicity from articles about the issue could hurt property values in the township.

"I am totally appalled at this situation," Snyde said.
Jason Feinman December 02, 2013 at 01:31 PM
It won't hurt home values but businesses may not want to do business there. With several vacancies in Washington Town Center already, why such strong arming toward business? Ridiculous ordinances, biased fines and I really don't see Washington Township promote their businesses like other towns.
Pete m December 02, 2013 at 10:42 PM
I agree our home values are fine, this will not hurt busines, complaining to the papers will. The building inspector did his job and thats why the Mayor has him in place.
Jason Feinman December 02, 2013 at 11:03 PM
No Pete, it seems from the facts, policies in place, and pettiness to along with the vacancies, speak for itself. Business friendly is not being petty over signage and publicity. Sounds like jealousy to me and others have already pointed that out. Going to the paper is an important way to initiate change and the people will not be silenced.
Concerned December 03, 2013 at 08:43 AM
Pete M your bias knows no bounds. His job is not to fine for sight unseen violations. He does have to show up. The inspector should be reprimanded.
Dana Egbert December 03, 2013 at 08:45 AM
Is her "illegal" signage an electrical violation Pete? If not, then please enlighten us as to how an electrical violation can be recorded without visiting the site? What's with this establishment that got your panties in such a bunch? Are you a life long resident here? I've lived here almost 5 years and can easily see this town isn't very business friendly. Take off the blinders!
Pete December 03, 2013 at 09:11 AM
In many jurisdictions there is a triple the penalty for not following the stipulated order of inspection procedures. Of course, there's no such penalty when the inspectional services people don't follow those procedures. Perhaps this owner should get a triple credit towards future fines.
Barry Black December 03, 2013 at 09:17 AM
Looks and sounds like restaurant wars to me!
B@B December 03, 2013 at 10:01 AM
Fines should not be issued without in-person inspection, that much is clear. As for this adamant posture towards "rules" and "laws", why is it that one business owner is harassed by local officials over nonsense while another (Mr. Kourgelis) is allowed to do whatever he wants without impunity? And then they wonder why we try to figure out who bought and paid for our local officials?
Concerned December 03, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Jason- You may have missed it. Pete M already acknowledged in another location that he is the one that complained about the sign. Don't think jealousy was involved.
Jason Feinman December 03, 2013 at 12:44 PM
I saw that. If you don't call that jealousy, what do you call it? Just sheer vindictiveness?
Steve Kohlreiter December 03, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Peter M can find NO situation where the Mayor does wrong. We have quite a few issues facing this town. I think I have a solultion to make some people happy. The corner lots on Pascack that the owner of Seasons owns and wants a CVS. I say take tax payer dollars, use Eminent domain(been done before here) clear the lots and erect a giant statue of Janet and put in a parking spot just for Peter(Lake)M so he can genuflect to his idle Janet. Makes him happy and solves the CVS issue
B@B December 03, 2013 at 03:28 PM
I would like to know what exactly Pete objected to.
Pete m December 03, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Steve Great idea, tell us about eminent domain where was it done before in town. Maybe not a statue but some kind of reconization for Mayor Sobkowicz should be displayed in town
Pete m December 03, 2013 at 07:41 PM
BB I object to everyone crying to the papers And you seem to cry over everything
Steve Kohlreiter December 03, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Sure Pete(Lake)M. Eminent domain was used on the VFW bldg on Jefferson St by your Mayor. Of course it sits empty with no housing on the site as promised. Another non truth told by the Mayor. As for some kind of recognizing the Mayor perhaps everyone should be made to wear arm bands. You know the kind of place you like where nobody questions anything
Concerned December 04, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Jason- Think that is probably closer to the truth.
Dana Egbert December 04, 2013 at 11:41 AM
So you don't like people complaining to the papers about politicians bullying business and people over other business and people? Hmmmm...sounds a lot like some European nation some 70+ years ago.
Pete m December 04, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I do believe Dana Egbert I know who you are by your name that you have a relative who is a politician or former politician from a nearby town. look in the mirror
Dana Egbert December 04, 2013 at 08:48 PM
So if you think you know me Pete, point out where I've ever suggested we should prohibit people from holding politicians for their actions, via the media. You won't be able to. But you can try.
Jeffrey Tammen December 06, 2013 at 01:31 PM
This is nothing new for the township of Washingto, they did the same thing to my family after I did not agree on with them on an issue so in return they put a violation in my mailbox on my yard The funny thing was they did not have the balls to sign it. Then I cut down some over grown dead shrubs and they again sent a violation with no name but was told the police chief was forced to sign it. So we hired lawyer then time off work for shrubs . These people up there have lost there way. I feel so bad for this business owner . Who ever sent should be fired . And yes amazing how seasons is given a hall pass on their disgusting lots and the gas station on pascack and Washington . It's disgusting how this town operates
Stanley Sobkowicz December 30, 2013 at 07:46 AM
Sounds to me like there are two people, one elected and one not, who are trying to show the people of the Township who the BOSS is! Well, elected officials can also be voted out!
B@B December 30, 2013 at 09:07 AM
Stanley: As long as we have uncontested elections, or on the rare occasions when someone dares run against the entrenched hackocracy the inattentive idiots who live in town insist on touching the buttons right down the Republican Party line even if it means voting for the people they detest, the idea that our elected officials can be voted out is a pipe dream at best.
Concerned December 30, 2013 at 01:17 PM
B@B you're half right. Two people were just voted out. Our only choice for Mayor was not to vote at all.
Stanley Sobkowicz January 01, 2014 at 08:32 AM
BOB, Not too sure about pipe dreams. Recalls worked in Colorado. Not that you can compare the Township to Colorado. However, it seems to me that a sharp individual, planning far in advance, making the contacts, attending the correct functions and, oh yes, money could win. I can't believe the Dems are so weak kneed as to not even try. They may have more support than they think! Every candidate has a vulnerability. One must simply find it. There is always a key to the closet somewhere. In general, I agree with you. Someone has to want it bad enough. But it is not a pipe dream. It takes dedication. I'd rather try for my goal and lose, then never try and wonder what could have been. Never say never.
B@B January 01, 2014 at 10:03 AM
Stanley: The Dems ARE so weak-kneed as to not even try. This is why they have refused to bankroll anyone to run against Scott Garrett for a decade. Except for when Howard Dean did the 50-state strategy, even the national party was all about only bankrolling races they were guaranteed to win.
Stanley Sobkowicz January 01, 2014 at 04:05 PM
B@B, you hit the nail on the head about the National Party only backing people they think are sure winners. Whatever happened to get into the trenches and fight it out? The prediction technology might work ok on the national election stage, but on local level a stiff breeze can change the voting overnight. As for the "sheeple"voting in a straight line w/o knowing who they are voting for, there are a few things that can be done to counteract that. Too much to discuss here. Township voters need to pay attention to what the candidates say and DO before it's to late! Thanks for the discussion and have a safe and productive New Year!

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