Business Beat: The Front Room’s Owner, Smith, Defends Himself Against Pending Lawsuit


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 368)  Technical Director:

In a press release emailed yesterday afternoon to an elite list of “Loyal Customers, Friends, and Family,” Chef Harding Lee Smith assured all of them he had “done no wrong” and that would be proven in a court of law.  “You may have heard stories recently about a lawsuit filed against me and The Front Room for mistreatment of our employees.  I want to be clear with you; these claims are completely false and will be proven false in the court of law.”

In a long email titled, “Facts from the Front Room,” dated Jaunary 8, Smith labeled the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) as a “national organization with a national agenda against  the restaurant industry, and as an owner of three popular restaurants in Portland, I was an easy target.”

Smith also said that he feels upset, hurt and shocked.  He treats all his employees with fairness and respect.  “For a few employees who have a personal issue with me to join with a national organization with a separate agenda and try to make me a villian…”

In closing, the press release said:  “During this difficult economic time, we have managed to find success and keep up three popular restaurants through our good food, good service and fair prices.  It is incredibly unfortunate that a few people who have personal issues with me along with a national organization with its own agenda can be allowed to drag my restaurants through the mud like this.”

The press release did not indicate whether or not Smith had  t reained an attorney to defend him in this pending lawsuit.  MHN did email him with that question, but has not heard back from Smith.

Please see the previous Post # 365, dated January 7, with more background information.

(Editor’s Note:  This is the third time MHN has posted this same story today.  For an unknown reason, the two previous times part or most of the story was erased.  MHN will continue to repost this story until the technical problem is corrected. Thank you for your patience.)