Regional Briefing

Regional Briefing

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Restaurant Trans Fat Ban Sought

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced bills yesterday with significant potential effects for the city's restaurant industry: One would ban artificial trans fats, and another would require eateries to display letter-grade cards of their health inspections.

Cheh said other cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have such requirements for inspections or display of health reports.

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and D.C. Republican Committee Chairman Robert Kabel criticized the letter-grade proposal, saying it gives too much weight to a one-day inspection. "Cheh's legislation gets an F," Kabel said.

He said the city should move to make restaurant inspections available online.

In proposing a ban on artificial trans fats, Cheh noted that heart disease remains the city's leading cause of death.

-- Nikita Stewart

Church Embezzlement Suspected

The former director of finance of a historic downtown church is accused of embezzling more than $500,000 from the institution during a six-year period, according to court documents.

Jason Todd Reynolds, 37, of Bowie has not been charged with any crimes in the alleged thefts, which were described in federal seizure warrants that seek the forfeiture of two luxury cars Reynolds owned. He worked for the National City Christian Church at 5 Thomas Circle NW from 2002 to 2008. He was fired in June, according to the court documents filed last week in U.S. District Court. Federal agents accused him of using a church credit card to make more than $300,000 in unauthorized purchases that included sports tickets, furniture, car down payments and jewelry, the records state.

Reynolds also wrote himself more than $200,000 in unauthorized checks on a church account, the agents said.

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