Oh My Gogi's Continuing HPD Problems

oh my gogi.jpg
More Gogi, more problems: the strange tale of Oh My Gogi
Houston police spokesperson John Cannon has trouble not laughing when he hears about the food truck Oh My Gogi. It's not their complaints, or their food, or the owners. It's the name. Oh. My. Gogi. The punch lines pretty much write themselves.

Oh My Gogi isn't laughing.

Owner Eric Nguyen says the Houston Police Department has unfairly targeted his food truck over the last month, coming after them with a new flurry of citations every week. In the last month, the food truck, which sells Korean barbecue and tacos near Rice Village on the weekends, has been inspected four different times by police and hit with at least four different violations.

See also:

- Video: Council Member Andrew Burks on Food Trucks, Terrorists and the Threat Against U.S. Embassies
- Terrorist Attacks, Drugs and Danger: Why City Council Doesn't Want Food Trucks Downtown
- Mobile Vendors Get Mobilized to Combat Food Truck Laws

oh my gogi food truck stop.jpg
Police inspect Oh My Gogi; protect us from the terrorists
It started a month ago, manager Daniel Davenport said. He parked the Oh My Gogi truck near Brian O'Neill's and started selling tacos. But then the cops showed up, and wrote him a citation because he didn't have a food preparation permit on him, though he showed it to them on his iPad. Not good enough, they said, writing him a citation.

Davenport didn't think much of it, but then things got weird. The cops showed up again the next week. They were different officers, Davenport said, and they declined to say why they'd come again. "They said, 'We were told by our sergeant to come and crack down on you all," Davenport said.

Cannon said the HPD has in no way targeted Oh My Gogi. Earlier this year, area residents and restaurant owners began complaining about all the food trucks, he said. So police have launched an inspection sweep of the area. In the last month, he said, police have written at least 50 citations. Cannon said the campaign will continue for at least one more month.

Oh My Gogi's Davenport takes us inside the police offensive. He said the second time they came to Oh My Gogi, police found his propane tank on the outside of the truck and shut him down. He had to throw away $800 worth of food. Then police made him pour bleach all over it.

The next week was the worst, he recalled.

Again, it was different officers -- this time two officers named J. Sanchez and A. Huff -- who came to his food truck. Davenport said a "sergeant" had sent them, and they had to find something to cite. Police wrote three infractions for displaying their business permits, which were on hand but not in open sight.

Nguyen couldn't believe it. "We're totally legit," he said. "But they're always going to find something. Our truck is the only one being picked on. It's weird. And it scares me. There are just so many rules that we don't know about and they could keep writing citations forever."

Other food truck owners, a conspiratorial lot, perceive politics behind the police actions. Tom Morris, who owns Coreanos, said it may be related to all the recent brouhaha over whether the city will deregulate food trucks, which would allow them more freedom to enter downtown and provide seating for customers. "But my opinion is, bring it on," said Morris.


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22 comments
H_e_x
H_e_x

Don't the police have anything better to do, like setting up speed traps or forcibly taking people's blood?

Fluerie
Fluerie

One more note: this whole thing is about raising revenue for a cash strapped city. It should be seen in the context of other stuff you've reported about: 'candle licenses', 'dance-floor permits' and other bs sources of attempted tax on local businesses. When a city cuts middle class services to the bone, and refuses to raise taxes on the most wealthy among us, this is the type of piecemeal revenue increases that we get. And meanwhile foodies miss the larger point, making jokes about jokers involving exploding propane tanks. Has eating replaced religion and sports as the new 'opiate of the masses'? 

Fluerie
Fluerie

If these HPD assholes play rough with West U and Washington public food trucks that have no money, think what they do to fringe businesses with lots of money, ie the strip clubs. They're the new mafia.

brentjatko121863
brentjatko121863

HPD has Houston Health Department authority to determine food safety & shut down food vendors? Since when? HPD officers carry guns, tasers & batons. Now they carry quick - read thermometers & water quality test strips? That's ridiculous. 

Docward
Docward

When the people behind this obviously organized harassment see those anti-bullying PSA's on TV, how hard do you think they laugh? Pretty hard, or extremely hard?

Nicholas Dion
Nicholas Dion

Bullshit. Total bullshit. HPD = Organized Criminal Enterprise.

PM..
PM..

Requiring the owner to pour bleach on $800 worth of fresh, edible, non-spoiled food is the only act described here that should be considered a crime. 

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

When a restaurant fails health inspection, I know inspectors will sometimes come back very soon to reinspect. In general I think that's a good policy, but four inspections in such a short time period, and the strange comments from the cops seem very odd, more like harassment than trying to ensure safety.

Foody
Foody

I wonder how many times HPD went to a restaurant and did the same thing? If I were Davenport, I would hire a lawyer for a few hours next week-end, and check if HPD would behaving the same way!!!

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

"Sprinkle some bleach on it and let's get out of here."

 

Strange things.

JavaPeg
JavaPeg

@sensestorm @HoustonPress What bothers me even more about this is, DOESN'T THE HPD HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO?!?! #gofightcrime

NikJ
NikJ

I applaud this guy for stepping forward and complaining; most business owners don't want to risk rocking the boat and calling out police and city/county wrongdoing. Trust me, there's a lot of it going on and getting away with it just emboldens them. Speak out.

nguyenhm16
nguyenhm16

That's what the City of Houston cops and inspectors do... if you piss of the wrong person somewhere and/or on their sh*t list for some reason, they will just keep coming after you.

Kelli
Kelli

HPD and Houston City Council should be ashamed of themselves. In a city that has been touted as an on the rise economy, this can only help not hinder. I see no issue with these trucks and I am delighted the trend has grown here. I am an avid fan of many of them and continue to love the discovery of new ones with new flavors. What a crock of shit in my opinion (hope HPD doesn't target me).

BrittanieShey
BrittanieShey moderator

 @PM.. It's not like they could give it out for free to the homeless now either. City of Houston, you are AWESOME.

tinyhands
tinyhands

 @Foody Hire a lawyer? How much money do you think he makes slinging tacos? Better idea: Buy this man's tacos at least once a week and help keep him in business. Or volunteer to hang around and record video of HPD officers harassing him.

 

[Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with this or any other business. I will, however, shill for tacos.]

sensestorm
sensestorm

@JavaPeg "Your tax dollars at work."

WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

 @NikJ Yeah, but in the old days, it was The Mob shaking owners down for "protection payments".  This seems like an orchestrated attempt to shut down the trucks.  Way yo go GHRA ... wonder how many free meals ur given to the one doing the shaking ? ? ?

Brazos
Brazos

 @BrittanieShey  @PM.. That rule needs to be fixed.  It's morally wrong to let people go hungry and throw away perfectly good food..  This is not a right/left blue/red issue.  FIX IT!

JavaPeg
JavaPeg

@sensestorm grrrrrrrrr.

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