Whit Meyers, who has worked tirelessly to keep the Gypsy Tea Room's doors open despite bankruptcy proceedings that have been carrying on for more than a year, says I have my facts wrong concerning at least one issue in the item concerning the Gypsy's future. And he is right.
This morning I wrote that the club is on the hook for $5 million owed David Cunniff for his having been assaulted at the Gyspy during an Old 97's show there on July 25, 2004. That's not true. In April 2005 Jesse Chaddock received a 19-year sentence for organized crime for his part in the assault, which left Cunniff near death and paralyzed. That same month, Cunniff brought a civil suit against the club, alleging negligence and dram shop liability and seeking damages for physical and mental injuries. He is seeking $5 million, but so far, as Meyers points out in a missive sent to Unfair Park, "there has not been ANY ruling, judgement, finding of civil liability, finding of negligence or the like in any state or federal court regarding Gypsy Tea Room or The EC. There are only allegations in a lawsuit."
In writing the item this morning, I took the $5 million figure from the Gypsy's disclosure statement turned in to U.S. District Judge Harlan DeWayne Hale last month. The amount is listed beneath the header "Estimated Claims," and it's noted that the amount is being "disputed." You can see for yourself here. It's on page 2.
After the jump, the rest of what Meyers writes in his e-mail to Unfair Park. --Robert Wilonsky
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The Bankruptcy was filed due to the Cunniff lawsuit and the refusal of the insurance company to provide any coverage for David or defend his suit. There was NEVER any judicial finding regarding Gypsy or the EC. The Bankruptcy Court has never ruled on the merits of the case either. The continual repetition of the Plaintiff's Petition's allegations as judicial found fact/judgement is simply false (and perhaps libelous) and it's continual distortion and misreporting has only caused greater negative perception of Gypsy, The EC and Deep Ellum over the last several years.
The 5,000,000 dollar number is what Cunniff claims his damages are, and I don't really have cause to dispute that, but a unliquidated contingent bankruptcy court claim and a finding of negligence and an award of a judgement are two very, very different things. No one feels worse about what happened to David Cunniff than I do. I wish I had the magic wand to make what happened disappear. I don't. But the misreporting of these legal accusations as fact and law by the media only helps create the self fulfilling prophesy that your paper seems hell bent on creating. (see your headlines over the past two and 1/2 years). I hope you and your paper are wrong for the sake of the people who have had to put their shoulder to the wheel at Gypsy and in Deep Ellum during these very difficult times overzealously fanned with misreports in the media.
We at a minimum deserve to have the facts reported fairly, and we can live with that, but unfortunately that is not something we have come to expect in Deep Ellum from the Observer, generally. Personally Robert I expected better from you.