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IHOP's free pancake day is really a taxpayer rebate

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You may already know that today, March 1, is IHOP's “Free Pancake Day,” but did you know that D.C. residents already paid for those pancakes with a $766,000 grant through the Department of Health and Human Services? David Freddoso reported on the new Columbia Heights “Federal IHOP” back when it opened:

How did this community become the taxpayer's beneficiary? Butch Hopkins, CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., explained to me that his organization had applied for and received the $766,000 grant from HHS last year, to invest in the new restaurant in exchange for a minority equity stake.

AEDC has put other government grants to work in genuinely underserved neighborhoods like Anacostia. And Hopkins, who takes a modest $56,000 salary from AEDC (although he receives a lot more from a related for-profit entity), has been doing this sort of work since before I was born. But I still had to ask him why they are “developing” such a well-developed neighborhood. Doesn't Columbia Heights already have every kind of business under the sun?

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“They do now,” Hopkins told me. “They have IHOP!”

Now taxpayers are finally going to get their silver-dollar rebate. In pancakes.



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