Contractors, developers, public officials, and construction companies across the country have entered into contracts with Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill presumably based on the understanding that it is a successful enterprise that will generate tax revenue and create jobs. Scottsdale, AZ-based businessman Frank Capri reportedly purchased the master license agreement to develop Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill nationwide. Since 2009, 11 new Toby Keith restaurants have been built in 10 different states. Eight more are in the pipeline. Despite this growth, the company that owns the restaurant chain has a track record of litigation and liens. Research has shown that the majority of plaintiffs who have sued the restaurant businesses have sued based on allegations of non-payment.
Restaurants from the first opened in Mesa, AZ to the recently opened in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, have faced and some currently face significant monetary claims against them. Below is a summary of some of these cases. If you are interested in learning more about the subject and status of the lawsuits, visit this page.
- In December, the Mesa restaurant was sued twice—the Cintas Corporation sued for $18,824.09, and Ahmed Sheekhahmed sued based on dramshop responsibility for an unspecified amount. This past May, Arizona’s Department of Revenue put a state tax lien of nearly half a million dollars on the Arizona establishment, which opened its doors in 2009.
- A Bar &Grill in Tunica, MS, was shut down after seven health and safety inspections were conducted in a period of six weeks. It had been open for about one year. In months following, the Mississippi Department of Revenue put four state tax liens on the property totaling $41,300. Three of those four liens have since been released.
- In Pittsburgh, PA, the Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill allegedly defaulted on its lease agreement after failing to provide financial statements as evidence of equity and financing, which was required to fulfill lease obligations. After the deal with developer South Side Works Dine Associates “collapsed,” they sued the restaurant company in March 2011 for $460,004.60.
- This past November, the Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park, MN was sued by A-1 Contractors for $28,460.55.
- In Auburn Hills, MI, the restaurant was sued by Ray Electric for $56,865.19 based on a number of charges including breach of contract and lien foreclosure in late 2010. The lien Ray Electric placed on the property has since been released. This past April, Dennis Himes sued for over $25,000 for auto negligence and dramshop. This is the second time in the past 4 months that a Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill has been sued for dramshop negligence.
- Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Denver, CO was initially sued by Diversified Builders in March 2011 for breach of contract, mechanic’s lien foreclosure, and unjust enrichment. A few months later in June, Audio Visual Innovations joined Diversified Builders’ lawsuit because they had similar complaints against the restaurant company and other involved parties. Diversified Builders and Audio Visual Innovations both had liens on the Denver property totaling $220,248.33. The liens have since been released and the case dismissed.
- Originally planned for a January 2011 opening, the Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill in Rancho Cucamonga, CA finally opened in April 2012. In July, August, September, and October of 2011, at least four different companies involved in the construction of the property sued the restaurant for allegedly unpaid bills. At least five liens have been filed on Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill totaling $194,965.31. As of June 27, 2012, only one lien has been released.
- In July 2011, Sterling Millwork, Inc., a contractor that was involved in the construction of restaurants in St. Louis Park, MN, Auburn Hills, MI, Tunica, MS, Denver, CO, and Foxborough, MA, sued Frank Capri and his two namesake companies—Capri Concepts, LLC, and Capri Concepts Mesa, LLC—for $863,898.11.
What is of particular concern is that despite this company’s track record, a number of Toby Keith’s Bar & Grills have directly or indirectly received millions of dollars in taxpayer assistance, largely in the form of local government subsidies. Municipal agencies, public officials, and elected leaders should know about the restaurant chain’s and the CEO’s financial track record, as well as its history of litigation and liens.
- In Cincinnati, OH the city and county loaned developers $5.5 million to, as a reporter from The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote on February 23, 2012, “lure” tenants like Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill into a development called The Banks project. The restaurant takes up the largest retail space in the plan. The Banks is one of two marquee projects of the city’s riverfront development. The City of Cincinnati contributed $21 million in construction funding, and developers plan to collect $80 million in public funding for the other marquee project—the Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park.
- Another city in the Buckeye state—Cleveland—expects more than $4 million in tax revenues and the creation of 800 construction-related jobs from a development in which the Bar & Grill is key.
- Government officials in Rosemont, IL expect the city to get a huge payback for its $40 million investment in the development where Toby Keith’s is planned to be. They also anticipate an annual rent revenue of $3 million and an annual property tax revenue of $1-1.2 million.
- In Newport News, VA, city councilors recently approved of a “tourism zone” tax package for City Center, the mall development where a Bar & Grill is currently being constructed. This tax incentive is “perhaps the first such incentives in Virginia.” The package includes a 25% tax rebate on food and beverage and admissions taxes, and a 1% sales tax rebate contribution from the state.
See here for a detailed record of lawsuits filed against Frank Capri and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill companies, and here for a detailed record of liens filed against Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill businesses and properties.