The parent company and owner of a Santa Monica restaurant have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from serving meat from the endangered Sei whale to undercover investigators in 2009 and 2010.
Typhoon Restaurant Inc. and owner Brian Vidor each pleaded guilty Monday to one count of unlawful sale of a marine mammal at the now-closed restaurant The Hump at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, the Los Angeles Times reported. As part of the plea, Vidor admitted he was aware his sushi chefs, who have previously pleaded guilty, were serving whale at the restaurant, and he allowed it.
Typhoon and Vidor will jointly pay a $27,500 fine and will be placed on 18-month and 12-month terms of probation, respectively, if the terms of the plea agreements are accepted by Judge Dale S. Fischer.
The chefs pleaded guilty earlier this year to misdemeanor counts of conspiracy and the sale of marine mammals in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They have yet to be sentenced. The supplier of the whale meat, Ginichi Ohira, also has pleaded guilty.
Authorities launched an investigation into The Hump after producers behind the documentary “The Cove” secretly filmed whale meat being served at the restaurant, The Times reported.
—City News Service