Municipality files for hearing to hold Kriner’s Diner in contempt of court

The restaurant has remained open despite a court order
Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 9:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Despite a court order to cease dine-in service, Kriner’s Diner stayed open Saturday, serving another flood of customers before closing early. The diner’s owner, Andy Kriner, declined an interview on-camera Saturday, but said that the day had gone by smoothly. He added he was considering closing the restaurant on Sunday to give his employees a break before reopening Monday. Kriner said he hadn’t heard anything from the municipality Saturday, but at a press conference Friday, the Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel brought up the possibility of further action if Kriner’s didn’t follow the judge’s order.

“The court invited us to seek assistance from the court if there is additional compliance problems,” she said.

On Saturday, the Department of Law did just that. In a statement, the mayor’s Communications Director Carolyn Hall wrote “we are heading back to court and requesting a contempt of court hearing. Violating a court order is an egregious act that carries significant penalties.”

Being held in contempt of court can result in fines or other orders as the court finds appropriate if a judge finds them guilty. In this particular instance, the municipality is requesting the court fine Kriner’s, as well as its two owners, Andy and Norann Kriner, $5,000 per day.

“Each day that Kriner’s Diner remains open, Defendants have knowingly incurred a fine of $600,” the filing reads. “Clearly that amount of money is insufficient to deter the conduct.”

The motion also calls for separate sanctions against the attorney defending Kriner’s, Blake Quackenbush. In the filing, the city contends that Quackenbush posted a video from the inside of Kriner’s to a public Facebook group Saturday afternoon with the caption “Americans peacefully protesting in a historic sit-in! Breakfast is served.”

“It is equally clear that Blake Quackenbush has willfully disobeyed the Court’s Order and he has affirmatively fomented violation of the Court’s Order by others,” the filing said.

She goes on to request that attorney fees expended in bringing the motion be covered by the defendants, for a total of $1,430.00, arguing Kriner’s should’ve ceased dine-in service without the Municipality needing to file to hold them in contempt of court.

A hearing has not yet been set, though the municipality also filed for expedited consideration of the motion.

A representative for Quackenbush’s law firm declined to comment on this filing.

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