A Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE:CMG) executive that has been caught up in a drugs scandal may have turned to cocaine due to pressures at work.
Mark Crumpacker, 53, the restaurant chain’s chief creative and development officer, has appeared in court accused of buying cocaine on seven occasions since January. The purchase dates match up with some of Chipotle’s worst days in 2016, writes Chris Dolmetsch for Bloomberg.
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Crumpacker allegedly a regular customer of cocaine delivery service
The hugely popular chain took a hit due to health scares at its restaurants. Now Crumpacker has appeared in New York state court on misdemeanor charges that he bought cocaine on several days linked to those health scares.
The cocaine delivery service allegedly had 18 repeat customers, who were indicted this Thursday alongside three people who ran the operation. Crumpacker has led efforts to help Chipotle survive various E.coli and norovirus outbreaks at its restaurants, and was paid $4.28 million in 2015.
This Tuesday Crumpacker surrendered to police and was led to court in handcuffs. He was released after paying bail. Just last week Crumpacker announced a new Chipotle loyalty program, known as Chiptopia Summer Rewards, which aims to entice customers back to the restaurants.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Doherty said that wiretaps recorded Crumpacker ordering drugs 13 times, the most recent on June 18. His orders totaled almost $3,000.
Purchase dates line up with bad days for restaurant chain
Authorities accuse Crumpacker of making his first purchase on January 29, just a few days before the results of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention probe into two E.coli outbreaks at Chipotle were released. The second came on March 8, when Chipotle announced the temporary closure of a restaurant in Massachusetts, and a further order was made on April 27, the day after the company announced its first quarterly loss ever.
Another purchase was made on May 11, when Chipotle’s annual meeting took place. During the meeting shareholders approved a proxy-access proposal supported by activists. Crumpacker was later placed on administrative leave on June 30.
“We are aware that Mark presented himself to authorities earlier today,” Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, said in a statement. “He remains on a leave of absence from his job to focus on these personal matters.”
The drugs ring allegedly used livery vehicles to make deliveries of cocaine across New York City. Crumpacker co-founded brand adviser Sequence LLC before moving to Chipotle, where he has worked since 2009.