From the copy and paste press release department:
Huge Fine for Holding a Sign? Coppell Official’s Harassment Causes Layoffs.
i Fratelli Pizza feels “chilling effect” through unprovoked vendetta
COPPELL, TX Did a Coppell City official lean on a code enforcement officer to fine the manager of a locally owned i Fratelli Pizza $2,000.00 because there was a lone employee holding a sign in front of the store?
“Yes” says a disbelieving Mike Cole, owner, fifteen year Coppell resident and CEO of i Fratelli Pizza, a local family-owned business that has eleven locations in the Metroplex. “I have the citation here to prove it. I guess we have to spend time and money going to a criminal trial. It really is a shame…not just the hard costs, but the fact that a worthy young man had to be lain off due to a city official’s indiscretion. “
After numerous harassing phone calls and unannounced visits from the Deputy Chief Tim Oates, Officer Oates evidently summoned a code enforcement officer to levy the huge fine in order to, in Officer Oates’ words, “change the manager’s attitude”. The criminal trial is set for November 9, 2009.
George Cole, Mike Cole’s brother, an owner, and former Coppell resident declared “during twenty two years in business, eleven locations in eight cities, we have never been treated like this. While serving the citizens in Coppell for seventeen years, we have only had the utmost respect for the workings of the city. Something has changed, something seems out of line…it feels personal.”
Especially because the Cole Brothers contend that they cannot find anything on the City Website that declares “holding a sign” to be a crime.
Darrell Cole, another brother and owner, but a current Coppell resident is outraged. “This gentleman at the city works for taxpayer money (my taxes) but spends his time attacking a business that raises the taxes that employs him and employs many other citizens. Is it smart to pick on someone who supports the city causes, celebrations, charitable programs, and numerous school and church organizations? He says we are the criminals?”
David Cole of Irving, a brother and owner, questions “why would any city official of Coppell “slap down” a family-owned business that has fought through a severe economic downturn without laying anyone off (until now) by levying a huge fine for holding a sign. Did he get his training at the Kremlin?”