Council President Pugh shows no shame in lobbying for staffer’s restaurant

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh is hell bent on ensuring his staffer receives $50,000 to open a vegan eatery in the city.

Pugh again took time out of a public meeting today to urge the audience and TV viewers to vote for Detroit Vegan Soul, owned by staffer Kirsten Ussery, as part of a Hatch Detroit contest that is offering a grant to help one local business get off the ground.

The restaurant plan is among four vying for the prize, which will be awarded to the venture that gets the most online votes.

“Vote often,” Pugh urged residents today.

Many Detroiters were shocked that Pugh would use his position to bolster his staffer’s chances of winning a contest over three other local, equally important business ventures.

“Has the man lost his sense of right and wrong?” asked Erin Reynolds, a west-side resident. “It’s shameless to use public time and resources to help an employee. Just ridiculous.”

Less than a month ago, Pugh brought Ussery to the front of a council meeting and advocated for her business to win the contest.

The other would-be businesses that aren’t as fortunate to have a council endorsement are Detroit River Sports, which would rent out kayaks and offer guided water tours; La Feria, a Spanish tapas wine bar; and Rock City Pies, which specializes in unique pies.

Pugh never mentioned those ventures.

You can vote here.

Detroit Vegan Soul caught criticism from Corktown residents when employees recently peppered cars with non-recyclable fliers – an oddity among vegan supporters.

Still, vegan soul food does sound good.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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