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Restaurant owners who defied closing orders go before a judge, ask for help

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 18:16:02-05

(WXYZ) — Two restaurant owners who defied the state’s closing orders almost three weeks ago in a high-profile way are now in front of a judge and asking for help to keep their business from going under.

Video inside Jimmy’s Roadhouse in Newago shows a full house, few wearing masks, and no social distancing.

Restaurants were open at 50% capacity before the latest shutdown order from the state.

Jim Corey told a crowd a couple of weeks ago he was celebrating 50 years of his family business and taking a stand. His license was suspended by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

During a hearing today Administrative Law Judge Mike St. John asked the attorney for the restaurant, “the video and the photograph are pretty damning aren’t they sir?”

Attorney Stephen Kallman replied there’s no evidence anyone got sick.

The Judge also said he understands how these owners say they can do this safely with reduced capacity, but Jimmy’s didn’t do that.

Another restaurant that stayed open in a high-profile way after the state order is The Meeting Place in Fenton. That same judge was told the owner is a mother of 7 and she’s done a U-turn.

The owners are trying to avoid long term suspensions of their liquor licenses. The judge said he will rule next week.

The current shutdown order runs through next Tuesday. It is expected to be extended.

Restaurant owners have asked for a meeting with state officials or the Governor to discuss safety options, but it has not been scheduled.