(Portland, Oregon) – A restaurant owner in Portland, Oregon has been arrested and charged with funding his business via the illegal use of EBT cards. Reparations Bistro, located in North Portland, gained mainstream media attention due to their controversial practice of giving free meals to African American patrons, and charging Caucasian diners double.
Rick Derringer is the 53-year-old owner and operator of Reparations Bistro. An Oregon native, Derringer reportedly took great pride in being both a chef and a human rights activist. He also employed several disadvantaged minority youths, who are now jobless after the Bistro was forced to close until further notice.
The massive case of alleged welfare fraud was uncovered after an anonymous tipster contacted local police. After a year-long investigation, officials were finally able to acquire a search warrant for Derringer’s business and financial records. During the raid on Reparations Bistro, police found several EBT cards along with other materials that officials say, “painted a larger picture of Derringer’s costly scam.”
During a brief statement, Commissioner Dale Yates told reporters, “Rick Derringer has cost Multnomah county tens of thousands of dollars. Reparations Bistro is also legally registered as a charity organization, and enjoys all of the tax benefits from said status. We believe this is only the tip of the iceberg with regards to Mr. Derringer’s criminal activities.”
National Report was able to speak with a former employee of Derringer who was able to shed some insight into Reparation Bistro’s illicit operation. Jack Phillips had worked at the bistro since its grand opening in 2007. He is currently cooperating with the local police department in the ongoing case against Derringer.
“I admit, I had always wondered how he stayed in business.”, Jack Phillips claimed during the interview. “His practices weren’t exactly… sound. Reparations Bistro had a near-constant influx of customers; A large portion of them being African Americans. So we were literally giving away hundreds of dollars of food every day.”
He continued, “I only handled the scheduling. Employee related things. Never any money stuff–That was all Derringer.” When asked how he believed Derringer paid for all of the free food, Phillips claims he had assumed the money came from Derringer’s own pocket. “He’s rich. Drives a Bentley, wears the nicest clothes. I believe he inherited the fortune from his folks who passed in the late 90s, though we’ve never spoken about it in-depth.”
Rick Derringer is currently out on $20,000 bail. He is facing 23 charges of illegal possession and use of EBT/SNAP benefit cards. Derringer did not return our requests for a statement.
Jane M. Agni (2014, September 13)
Originally Published On National Report