Tempe city government fails to respond to calls and emails
Tempe, Arizona has a population of approximately 182,498. It has a mayor, a vice-mayor and five council members. Calling or writing Tempe city government may leave a person frustrated.
Veritas News Network reached out to Tempe City Hall several times in the past three weeks. Messages were left and calls were not returned. An email sent with a Freedom of Information Act request Jan. 30 has yet to be acknowledged.
The state of Arizona provides freedom of information through the Public Records Law and the Open Meetings Act. The Arizona Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of all government bodies. The law is defined under A.R.S. §39-.101 to 221. The Arizona Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. A.R.S. §38-431 of the Arizona code define the law. The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states, “It is the public policy of this state that meetings of public bodies be conducted openly and that notices and agendas be provided for such meetings which contain such information as is reasonably necessary to inform the public of the matters to be discussed or decided. Toward this end, any person or entity charged with the interpretations of this article shall construe this article in favor of open and public meetings.”
Tempe government was contacted to determine if local restauranteur Julian Wright received any grant funding or community development dollars. Wright said no such thing is available in the city.
Messages left at the Economic Development office were not returned and one employee from the Public Relations office did call back days later, however, she had no idea as to the answer for the information requested.
Wright who owns or has owned several bars on the popular Mill Avenue is featured in a video used by the Tempe city government.
As previously reported, investors of a popular Tempe bar owned by Wright were taken by surprise when they learned via a Facebook post that the Gringo Star Street Bar on Mill Avenue had locked the doors for good.
As reported January 20, a post on the bar’s Facebook page alerted customers to the closing. There was no explanation given and numerous questions from patrons were left unanswered.
The bar opened in 2013, offering arcade games, food, drinks, dancing and street art. The 6,500 square foot bar on the corner of 5th Street and Mill Avenue was once home to the Library Bar and Grill, another of Wright’s bar/restaurants. Gringo Star’s opening was highly anticipated from both a consumer and investor standpoint.
Wright did notify investors, but not until Jan. 24, and not until after an investor contacted him wanting to know the status.
It looks like we’ve finally closed a deal to sell Gringo Star. We haven’t received funds yet but it’s looking good. In anticipation of the sale closing we closed the business as well last week. It’s been losing money and staff at a rapid rate so wasn’t worth keeping open even through the weekend.
The sale price was $300,000 and included all FF&E, liquor license and inventory. Quite frankly we were lucky to get that. They probably could have bled us out and gotten it for half that. Especially since the last $300,000 deal we had in escrow fell out the day before we were supposed to close (in October.)
It will take us 45-60 days to reconcile as we have to await final statements from all vendors and make sure everything is paid off before making final distributions. The deal was an all cash offer so at least there was no carry back.
I could only guess at what the final amount will be as I don’t have all the financial info but I do know I’ve personally put in at least $60,000 in the last six months to keep the doors open and the staff paid and we had to pay $56,000 at closing to get caught up on rent, and that was after applying our $17,000 rent deposit.
Wright owns a number of bars in the Tempe area and he is well known throughout the community.
One employee, when reached, asked why an inquiry was being made regarding Wright. When the reason for the call was explained, the employee simply said “Oh” and added that someone would return the call.