Turns out quite a few San Francisco restaurants have been flouting a requirement for years to set aside money for employee health care, prompting an investigation by the city attorney. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that out of the $14 million collected in surcharges in 2011 "only a third of that money was actually used for medical coverage." More than 50 restaurant owners are being investigated, but the city is expected to offer an amnesty plan rather than throw them all in jail as one assemblyman suggested.
San Francisco launched its Healthy San Francisco program a few years back requiring businesses with a certain number of employees to set aside money for employees to use toward health care. Many restaurateurs decided to do that instead by tacking on a surcharge for diners to pay the bill — except, in some cases, those surcharge fees never made it to the employees. According to the Chronicle, Patxi's Chicago Pizza is one of the culprits for having denied 115 employees medical coverage from 2009-2011 to "a total of $205,000."
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the man behind the Healthy San Francisco initiative, says that the investigation is continuing and the city will work out a payment plan with offending restaurateurs. But he doesn't seem too happy about that, telling the paper, "Where I come from it's larceny. But at least it's coming to light and there will be consequences for these business owners."