We’re used to hearing the coal industry complain about permits … but this is a story about a different kind of permit — one that organizers of the Labor Day Friends of America rally didn’t get until after the fact.
It seems that a little more than a week before Monday’s event, organizers decided they needed something for the kids to do besides listen to speeches by Don Blankenship and Sean Hannity or music from Hank Jr. So, they turned to Thompson Catering, a Winchester, Ky., company that does a lot of business providing party tents and such for Massey Energy corporate events.
Thompson hauled in seven inflatable amusement rides — bouncers and slides — and also brought in a subcontractor to provide some sort of climbing wall.
But, it turns out that Thompson Catering’s rides had not been inspected or licensed in advance by the safety section at the West Virginia Division of Labor, as required by state law. The rides started up anyway, but were temporarily shut down while the company scrambled around to get an inspection and a state permit — one that appears to have come too late to meet the legal requirements.
“We were in compliance with them,” Thompson Catering owner Tommy Thompson told me today. “It was just a little after the fact.”