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Grilling in Chicago Ridge

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

A former inspector grills board and a current inspector grills Flaming Grill Buffet

Chicago Ridge bosses cut the full-time code inspector job recently, leaving former code inspector Bob Gushes out of a job and opening two part-time positions. Gushes made his grievances known and took aim at village officials on the same night new inspector Gerard Senese was sworn in.
Gushes aired his grievances to the board Tuesday. He said he served as the code inspector for the village of Chicago Ridge for the past seven years and is now out of a job due to political reasons. After the 2014 budget cuts Gushes claimed to have reached out to the village board but to no avail.
Gushes provided letters to each board member praising his work as code inspector and said he had an “exemplary record.”
“My record and personnel file speaks for itself and is filled with complementary letters from citizens and business owners for the job I do,” Gushes said.
He also said none of the trustees would meet with him and his position was cut because he failed to show political support for two sitting trustees. One of the two trustees replied to Gushes’ concerns during the meeting.
“[Gushes] never reached out to me about his job,” trustee Daniel Badon said. “I won’t go into details but [Gushes’] record is far from exemplary. If people knew what [Gushes] did on taxpayer dollars they would want [Gushes] fired.”
Gushes also publicly warned that Chicago Ridge is facing a bed bug infestation and his full-time job is necessary to help mitigate the ongoing bug problem.

Low rating for Flaming Grill
The Flaming Grill Buffett, 101 Commons Drive, has made news again, this time for reaching the lowest possible ratings from Chicago Ridge health inspector Rich Ruge. Ruge explained how the inspection system is based out of a possible 100 points. Hibachi Grill earned an 83 and 79 during the last two inspections.
“When it hit that 83 [point-mark] I asked ‘should that place be closed?,’” Mayor Chuck Tokar said.
Despite the point system, a business is closed only if the temperatures are unsuitable, hot water is unavailable and overall sanitation is egregious.
“When you get below 95 [points] you have a problem,” Ruge said. “When you are in the 80s there are a whole bunch of things going on.”
Ruge cited the Asian food restaurant in January for minor sanitation issues and said that due to a language barrier, the employees failed to comprehend the work required to earn an acceptable health inspection.
“I try to work as best as I can to not keep businesses closed and I don’t want people to lose money, but they have to do the right thing,” Ruge said. “I think the language barrier is an issue. I usually get a lot of smiles and head nodding but when I go back nothing was done.”
The Grill will also be the main event in a hearing Monday with Tokar over non-payment of food and beverage taxes. A hearing originally was held Jan. 28 but officials from the restaurant were a no-show, causing Tokar to warn that if they don’t show up to Monday’s hearing, the restaurant’s license could be suspended.