Burned

Prosecutors wanted to bust Ajo Al's for "dirty dining" — but the law just wasn't on their side

In court last week, one of the people who got sick, a retired banker named Ralph McDonald, testified about making the complaint to the county that kicked off its inspection.

Under questioning, though, McDonald said that he and the other three people who got sick shared more than one meal — together for a college reunion, they ate a total of seven meals together at four locations.

They all had beef tacos at Ajo Al's, but Pat Dains estimates that the restaurant served at least 1,000 orders of that meal over the weekend of May 11. It's one of the restaurant's most popular dishes.

Pat and Karen Dains (surrounded by four of their children) own and operate Ajo Al's. They beat the rap from County Attorney Andrew Thomas, but are now considering a suit against him.
Martha Strachan
Pat and Karen Dains (surrounded by four of their children) own and operate Ajo Al's. They beat the rap from County Attorney Andrew Thomas, but are now considering a suit against him.

If tacos were really the cause, "don't you think someone else would have gotten sick?" he asks.

For the Dains, though, victory is Pyrrhic. Public perception that they spread infection continues to gall them, not to mention impact their business.

Their attorney Mathew calls the case "gut-wrenching."

"There were certainly other ways to handle this case other than to bludgeon my clients with criminal charges," he says. "And it appears that the prosecutors were not even familiar with the statutes and regulations before going to trial.

"Learning about a statute in trial is never a good idea."

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1 comments
Michelle
Michelle

We don't feel bad for this family at all. They are out for themselves only. My husband was a loyal general manager for this family for 22 years and he up and fired him with no reason, no severance pay, nothing not a thank you for all your loyal hard work. He has been an abusive employer/owner. This family needs to wonder why this happened and realize maybe to not be so ruthless and out for themselves only and be thankful for what they had.Thank you

 
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