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News from Progress Michigan
March 16, 2015
Let Them Eat Cake: Aramark Employees Served Cake that Rodents Had Eaten
Another scandal uncovered in the state’s relationship with Aramark
MICHIGAN — In July 2014, an Aramark employee working at the St. Louis Correctional Facility in Mid-Michigan served cake to inmates that had been partially eaten by “rodents”, according to emails between Aramark and Michigan Department of Corrections officials, which were obtained by Progress Michigan through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The 2014 incident occurred at a time when scandals surrounding drug smuggling by Aramark employees and maggots in and around the food were just beginning to surface. Those stories make no mention of the rodent incident.
An MDOC employee wrote on July 20, 2014: “The Aramark staff served cake rodents were observed eating from.” It is detailed later in the email exchange that the Aramark worker was sent home and was supposed to be fired. The email exchange is attached with this release.
“It is past time for the Snyder administration to come clean about all the issues with the Aramark contract, it is clear that without numerous FOIA requests none of this information would have been disclosed,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “This is why access to public records like this is so important to ensure our government can be held accountable. The Aramark prison food service contract has resulted in drug smuggling, sexual contact between employees and inmates, an attempted murder for hire plot, maggots in and around food — and now this. The Snyder administration should use this opportunity to come clean about all the problems that they know of related to Aramark because the public has a right to know.”
Last year, Progress Michigan discovered through emails between Gov. Snyder’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore and the Michigan Department of Corrections that a $98,000 fine against Aramark had been cancelled without notifying the public. The fine was supposed to be punishment for Aramark for numerous contract violations.
The cake email was among tens of thousands of pages of emails acquired by Progress Michigan through an extensive FOIA request seeking more information on Aramark’s operation in state prisons. Progress Michigan is continuing to analyze and chronicle the information found in the emails while awaiting thousands of additional documents related to this FOIA from the MDOC. Progress Michigan will make all documents obtained publicly available once the request has been completed.