City hall update // New China Wok pays fines, will stay open

Embattled takeout restaurant New China Wok at 50th & France has paid its fines and prevented a pending city-ordered shutdown. 

It didn’t come at a cheap price, as owner Xiu Ben Lan had to pay $17,100 for violations dating back to 2008 that included issues with mice and mice droppings. 

Lan was shut down by the city in August because of ongoing violations, but he has since hired a consultant to help him deal with the problems. The city allowed him to re-open shortly thereafter, but still tried to yank the restaurant’s business license because of the fines. 

Lan had until the Oct. 5 City Council meeting to come up with the money, or he would have been shut down. Lan’s attorney, Michael Cain, said his client paid the fines in full. The City Council pulled the shutdown item from its agenda before the meeting.  

Cain said the restaurant now meets all city food standards. 

“He absolutely has a kitchen that is in full compliance with the food code and all of the food health and safety standards,” Cain said. “He’s working closely with the city to sustain the program that he has set in place to ensure compliance moving forward and he’s worked hand-in-hand with the city and licensing to fulfill all of their requirements.

“There’s no reason whatsoever that anybody should hesitate to go eat there.”

Two city employees charged with misconduct 

Two city employees were charged on Sept. 21 with misconduct for allegedly using Department of Vehicle Services data for personal use. 

Tom Deegan, director of housing inspections, and Michael A. Karney, a housing inspector, “repeatedly accessed the drivers license and motor vehicle registration records of people that were unrelated to any official business or work-related assignment,” according to the charges.

The criminal complaint does not specify exactly what Deegan and Karney were accessing, but it says Deegan’s use dates back as far as 2005. 

Both face charges of misconduct of public office, which come with a punishment of one year incarceration and up to a $3,000 fine. 

Deegan, 60, is a long-time city employee, having also served as fire marshal. His attorney told the Star Tribune that Deegan was merely checking the records for “aged and vulnerable” family members. 

“Mr. Deegan categorically denies doing anything wrong,” attorney Paul Engh told the paper. “Over 40 city employees have done the same thing and have not been charged.”

Deegan’s first court appearance was scheduled for Oct. 11, which is after this issue of the Southwest Journal went to press. Engh said Deegan will plead not guilty. 

City begins survey 

of residents

The city of Minneapolis in October and November will be surveying residents to get their opinion of the services the city provides. 

National Research Center, Inc. is conducting the survey, which will be administered randomly via telephone to 1,100 residents. 

According to a city press release, the survey should take about 20 minutes and can be translated into Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Laotian, Oromo or Vietnamese. 

The survey has previously been conducted in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010. 

Sewer work will delay resurfacing on a few Linden Hills blocks

Most Linden Hills residents will remember 2012 as the year many of the neighborhood’s streets were resurfaced, but a few blocks will have to wait until next year for a fresh layer of asphalt. 

That’s because the Metropolitan Council plans to dig up some blocks in order to repair or replace sanitary sewer pipes and manholes. That work will take place in 2013 and 2014 and includes stretches of 38th Street, Ewing Avenue, France Avenue and a few more blocks. To see a map of the remaining work, visit

The city plans to delay property assessments for property owners on those blocks until the work is complete. 

Reach Nick Halter at [email protected]