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Ohio reaches settlement with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to protect rights of local blind vendor

• May 14, 2016 at 7:00 AM

DAYTON — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a settlement with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to protect the rights of the blind vendor that operates the dining facility at the base.

The case involves the Randolph-Sheppard Act, a federal law that gives priority to blind vendors to operate dining facilities on federal property.

Under an agreed order filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the Air Force agrees to retain Huber Heights vendor Lenny’s Food Service while arbitration proceedings occur.

“This is about protecting Ohio jobs and the rights of the local vendor,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re pleased we could work with the Air Force to reach a settlement.”

Since 1999, a blind vendor named Leonard Johnson, who owns Lenny’s Food Service, has operated the dining facility at Wright-Patterson. Recently, the Air Force gave notice that it intended to replace Lenny’s Food Service with a Maryland company that is not a blind vendor.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, intervened to stop the removal, explaining that the Randolph-Sheppard Act requires arbitration before a blind vendor can be removed.

After engaging in settlement discussions, the parties filed a joint motion seeking an agreed preliminary injunction to maintain the vendor’s contract while the issues in dispute are arbitrated.

In Ohio, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) operates the state’s blind vendor program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. OOD designated Leonard Johnson as the licensed blind vendor to operate the contract at Wright-Patterson.

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