By Mike De Felice
Special to Kitsap Daily News
PORT ORCHARD – The owner of That One Place restaurant has fired the attorney representing him in his appeal of $132,000 in fines levied against the eatery for allegedly violating the state’s COVID-19 mandate.
The case before the state Board of Industrial and Insurance Appeals is for allegedly serving customers indoors during the time when such service was banned by Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 mandate. The proceeding was delayed to Nov. 15 to allow new counsel to get up to speed, state Labor and Industries spokeswoman Dina Lorraine said.
“Yes, we fired our first attorney,” That One Place owner Craig Kenady told Kitsap Daily News. “He was insisting we offer Inslee money to quash the fine. We refused to be sellouts.”
Kenady insists his restaurant was closed on some of the days the state claims customers were being served inside. “Then L&I attempted to lie and change documents to benefit their need,” he claimed.
The Port Orchard restaurant repeatedly served customers indoors during a time such service was barred by Inslee’s COVID restrictions, according to L&I investigators. That One Place was issued a series of 11 violations, each one carrying a $12,000 fine.
The violations were for endangering the health and safety of restaurant employees and the public by conducting inside food service when such service was banned. Kenady, an outspoken opponent of the state’s COVID-related mandates related to restaurants, has steadfastly insisted his business did not violate the governor’s directive and is appealing the “unlawful” fines.
Attempts to resolve the fines have gone nowhere, according to the L&I spokeswoman. Kenady has refused to consider any resolution short of complete removal of the fines, Lorraine said.
“We don’t owe them any money and will expect them to prove this claim that we put our employees in ‘immediate danger of death’ as they claim as their reasoning,” Kenady said earlier this fall.
The restaurateur has conducted fundraising to help defray his defense costs.
“Our fundraising dinner had such a great turnout, it covered the entire amount,” Kenady said.