What Really Led to the Sudden Shuttering of the Chili's at the American Airlines Center?
Have yet to make it to Dallas County District Court to read the lawsuits pitting Gilbert Aranza, the franchisee operating as Base Holdings who opened and rather suddenly shuttered the Chili's in the American Airlines Center, against Center Operating Company, which runs the arena. But I did spend a little more time this morning sifting through some of the docs filed in bankruptcy court, including Base Holding's initial filing for Chapter 11 in July and Center Operating Company's response filed a month later. Also among the notable filings: a 26-page missive from Center Operating Company's attorneys to Base Holdings, in which they outline the amount of rent Base Holdings allegedly failed to pay Center Operating (about $158,000) between last October and this May, as well as money owed other contractors and product providers. As it turned out, the AAC was looking to kick out Aranza long before he packed up in the middle of the night last Thursday.
As usual, all the docs are available after the jump for those who can't understand how a Chili's in the AAC could go buns-up right before the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars start their seasons and the DART Green Line begins service to Victory Park. But Aranza's attorney, Richard Pullman, told Unfair Park Friday evening that this whole mess was Center Operating Company's fault. He claimed that during various events, AAC officials would "barricade the doors to the restaurant" without explanation; he also said Aranza "could never get [a] parking permit for us to use the parking lot on non-event nights," referring to the lot adjacent to Victory Park.
"And then, during the circus, we were giving out coupons for people to come to our restaurant," Pullman said. "We said if you buy a meal, your kid gets a free one. And [Center Operating Company] said, 'You can't give out the coupons in the arena, because we have a deal with the circus operator, which gets a percentage of revenue from the concessions, which is contrary to our lease. ... We invested $2.8 million into this restaurant, because you have to spend a whole bunch of money to build a Chili's in a place where everybody has to eat in 30 minutes. The short story is, I've practiced law for 38 years in Dallas, and represented landlords for 30 of them, and never seen a landlord act like this. Never."
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