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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where prison privatization took a beating, only to place the prisoners of hospitality incomes on the defense; also, amid all the heated religious debate about your ladyparts, the Holy Land Experience became an experience worth getting sued over. Are you experienced?

Photo: Patricia Hofmeester, License: N/A

Patricia Hofmeester


Now, if you’re one for conspiracy theories – we are! – you might say that this is a blatant bit of lobbying cruelty by the restaurant industry. If you’re even more inclined to dig deeper, you could see it as part of the evil American Legislative Exchange Council’s agenda to eliminate the minimum wage altogether. Also, the world is going crazy.

According to a report by the National Employment Law Project on the matter, the facts don’t support the enactment of this new bill. The National Restaurant Association’s own projections show that the industry is already growing disproportionately to the economy, and restaurant giants like Orlando’s own Darden Restaurants – the ninth largest employer of low-wage workers, according to NELP – is enjoying higher profits than it did before the recession, even as tipped workers have three times the poverty rate of the general workforce. So why target the poor?

“I think it’s a blatant attack on workers in the state,” says Organize Now’s Stephanie Porta. She adds that legislators needn’t worry too much about backlash from the electorate because the poor, coincidentally, are the very same marginalized victims of the state’s current voter suppression tactics. It’s a perfect storm! Likewise, there isn’t even a House component for the bill this year, meaning it’s probably more a testing of the public relations temperature than anything else.

“I think it’s a test to figure out their language and their messaging,” Porta says. “They can do their polling, do their working groups, and next year when it comes back up, they’ll have their own PR campaign.”

Outback Steakhouse: You can literally live out back if you work here.

You know who isn’t poor enough to worry about any of this? Our dear, be-wigged friends of the Holy Land Experience and Trinity Broadcasting Network, Paul and Jan Crouch. Last week, the demure duo of questionable bedroom morality were indirectly slapped with a federal lawsuit by their own granddaughter and ancillary chief financial officer, Brittany Koper, according to the Orange County Register. The suit alleges that two attorneys working for the couple, through its not-at-all-shady business apparatus, somehow managed to embezzle – or unlawfully distribute – $50 million to the directors of TBN, which includes the Crouches, thereby allowing the purchase of more giant pink unicorns and tasteful crucifixion towel racks for one or all of their humble abodes.

“Observers have often wondered how the Crouches can afford multiple mansions on both coasts, a $50 million jet and chauffeurs,” Koper’s attorney told the Register. “And finally, with the CFO coming forward, we have answers to those questions.”

Koper actually served as CFO for TBN affiliate the Trinity Christian Center in Santa Ana, Calif., an organization that paid no taxes on its 2010 revenues of $175.6 million and net assets of $827.6 millionbecause of its nonprofit status. Paul Crouch served as an officer for the Trinity Christian Center, raking in $400,000 in 2010. Koper was apparently told to shut up and return everything she made from the company when she brought up her misgivings to TBN’s attorneys. Nothing to see here, then!

“Her assertions are outright fiction and wholly without merit,” one of the targeted attorneys, Douglass Davert told the Register. “These allegations are defamatory and to the extent they get printed we are going to defend ourselves vigorously.”

As opposed to “vigorously” laughing all the way to the bank, we assume. Amen.

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