Diner owner gets home detention

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:55 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Columbia restaurant owner was sentenced to 30 days of home detention and two years of unsupervised probation Tuesday in 13th Circuit Court after he pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawfully receiving ATP cards, or food stamps.

Edward Lee Johnson, 67, also paid about $3,700 in restitution to social services as part of his sentence, said Milt Harper, Johnson’s defense attorney.

The owner of Broadway Diner, 22 S. Fourth St., began serving his probation time Tuesday and will begin serving the 30-day detention May 19, Harper said. He said that, to his knowledge, the diner had never closed as a result of Johnson’s case, though the case has made it “difficult to remain open.” Harper said Johnson will continue to operate the restaurant in spite of the home detention and unsupervised probation.

The detention will require that Johnson be electronically monitored by court services, he said.

Johnson was arrested in October and charged with one count of unlawfully receiving ATP cards.

Harper said the felony charge was later amended to three misdemeanor counts to prevent further harm to Johnson’s reputation and business.

“I don’t think you have people lining up to trade places with him,” Harper said. “He’s very remorseful. He feels very bad about the whole thing.”

Johnson will also be required to pay a fine of $1,000 for each of the three counts, and additional court costs, Harper said.

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