Steve Arentz wants everyone to believe that he is an outstanding entrepreneur whose business skills qualify him to be a county commissioner for Queen Anne’s County. The appalling health inspections of Hemingway’s, his recently closed restaurant, tend to show that nothing could be further from the truth.
On October 12 at the League of Women Voters forum Mr. Arentz was asked to give an explanation of his lengthy and frightening list of health violations. What followed was perhaps the most rapid-fire sequence of lies you will ever hear. (Click here to see the video.) In one minute and nineteen seconds Mr. Arentz claimed the following:
1) The awful health reports were all a rumor.
2) His restaurant was not forcibly closed.
3) His restaurant’s health violations were landlord related.
4) It was he that reported his restaurant’s poor condition to the health department.
5) If you walked into any restaurant with a health inspector there would be between 30 to 50 health violations.
6) Most restaurants have the same types of violations as Hemingway’s did.
Not one of these statements is true! I posted Mr. Arentz’s abysmal health department records in an earlier article (click here) and these documents clearly affirm the health violations and horrific conditions at his restaurant. The documents also plainly state that Hemingway’s was closed by state authorities due to health and safety concerns. The evidence confirms that Arentz’s violations were operational in nature and not the result of a landlord dispute.
The inspection resulting in the forced closure of his restaurant was not the result of Arentz reporting himself, as he claimed. The report states, “Inspection was the result of a complaint received in my office about mold.” That complaint was actually made by one of his employees after several had met to discuss what they believed to be unsafe working conditions.
Arentz’s claims that a health inspector would find thirty to fifty violations in any restaurant and that most restaurants have the same violations as Hemingway’s, are flat out ludicrous. A look at health inspections of other similar restaurants in Queen Anne’s County confirmed these claims to be blatantly false.
During two inspections of Arentz’s restaurants, the health inspector found it necessary to order food destroyed. I interviewed a health inspector with over twenty years’ experience who stated that during his career he had only had to order food destroyed a handful of times. He cited Article 21-254 of the Maryland Health Code which states:
(a) (1) For purposes of this section, an "immediate threat" exists if any meat, seafood, poultry, vegetable, fruit, or any other perishable substance that is intended for consumption as food:
(i) Contains any filthy, decomposed, or putrid substance;
(ii) Is poisonous or otherwise would be injurious to health if consumed; or
(iii) Is otherwise unsafe.
(2) If a food poses an immediate threat, it shall be considered a public nuisance.
(b) If the Secretary finds that a food poses an immediate threat, the Secretary immediately shall destroy the food or otherwise make the food unusable for consumption by human beings.
He further explained that the standard procedure in these instances is to witness the contaminated or spoiled food be placed in the restaurant’s trash receptacle and have bleach poured over it to insure it can never be served. He made it clear that the need for this measure is an indication that an establishment has clearly ignored its obligation to the public.
In attempting to minimize his wrongdoing, Steve Arentz told six lies in just under eighty seconds. That’s a rate of five lies per minute. If that isn’t hard enough to accept, ask yourself one thing. What would Mr. Arentz have done with that food if he had not been ordered to throw it out?