Former Health Secretary’s Dispute Over His Egg Sandwich is Costing the State $75,000

| by Lina Batarags

In January 2011, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Eli Avila got involved in an argument over an egg sandwich, the repercussions of which would stretch out until 2014.

Avila was at Roxy’s, a restaurant in downtown Harrisburg, when he was served an egg sandwich, the freshness of which he evidently found highly unsatisfactory.

Restaurant owner Richard Hanna and Avila argued about the edibility of the egg sandwich Avila was served.

“Do you know who I am? I am the secretary of health!” Avila reportedly shouted at one point during the argument.

In 2012, Hanna went on to sue Avila in county court in on the grounds that Avila used his authority to block him from a Capitol cafeteria contract and sent city health inspectors after him. Hanna originally sought more than $500,000 in damages.

Avila denied Hanna’s claims, and moved the lawsuit to U.S. Middle District Court. However, after it was found that the case could not be completely decided under federal law, it was sent back to county court.

In January 2013, Dauphin County Judge Jeannine Turgeon refused Avila’s bid to have Hanna’s lawsuit dismissed.

Now, a $75,000 settlement has been reached, which the state will have to pay. Documents state that Hanna, Avila, and their lawyers are not allowed to discuss the agreement that ended the long-standing dispute.

Avila, a licensed physician and attorney, resigned from his job in October 2012.

Sources: http://www.pennlive.com, http://www.pennlive.com, http://www.pennlive.com

Photo Sources: http://wkok.info, http://www.philly.com