Sun City Anthem Resident
"Sounds Off" at Cafe V Fiasco
We at Anthem Opinions often get emails regarding our articles, but every so often, we get some that we feel deserve SPECIAL ATTENTION and should have a life of their own in a separate article.
This is one of those times.
Following the two articles we published regarding the insurance information pertaining to Sun City Anthem's Cafe V, we received the following from distinguished resident, Mary Lee Duley.
Mrs. Duley is well-known in the Sun City Anthem community for having a detailed data base with which she shares vital community information with hundreds of residents.
And...with her permission...along with our gratitude, we wish to share this with all of you.
Dear Anthem Opinions:
As you know, I forward informational emails to a relatively large data base on a regular basis. I do not have a web site not do I intend to have one.
It's rare when I comment on any website available to SCA residents, BUT I would like to make an exception.
The handling of the restaurant space at Anthem Center by ongoing Board members for years, has been inexcusable, and many new residents don't have a clue as to the history of that space.
This story is LONG...but there's a lot to share.
We moved here in 2006 so I'm unfamiliar with patterns prior to that time.
I believe the time has come to share my story with you and your readers, and for the first time, expressing sentiments I have had for years.
If the websites would reflect the Cafe V CONTRACT and the attached INVENTORY that is an integral part of the contract, residents would be SHOCKED.
Restaurants are NEVER leased "turn key" including all Kitchen and Bar equipment and accessories, much less furniture, drapes, and decorations.
A tenant should receive a BARE facility and then it is the obligation of the TENANT to furnish, at THEIR expense, whatever they need to open and operate THEIR business.
When we moved here in 2006, there was NO disclosure to owners about this lease agreement, as well as, a massive debt; and when it surfaced, the time kept clicking away with no solution.
When the Association finally contracted their attorney, John Leach, many felt it was a conflict of interest as Mr. Leach also represented Del Webb/Pulte.
I was at the top of the list asking for an independent attorney to review all documents and represent the association.
"Trumpets" Restaurant, as it was known then, owed over $300,000 to the association, and none of us (the new purchasers) were made aware of this DEBT to Sun City Anthem.
When this was discovered, many residents attended board meetings; spoke at the podium for two minutes each; and requested FULL disclosure from the Board of Directors, asking that they SHUT it down IF they were in default.
The assumption by all residents was that "Trumpets" was in default!
The Association did not hire an independent attorney but continued to use their existing law firm (John Leach).
The Association essentially LOST, and settled the suit.
Not only did the Association NOT get any money from Trumpets, but we also had to pay huge legal fees in addition to what I believe was a settlement of $250,000.
Having experienced 17 very successful years in Real Estate in Hawaii by running the fourth largest General Brokerage firm on Oahu for seven years and running my own firm for an additional ten years, I felt compelled to offer suggestions to our various Board members.
In additional to my real estate experience in Hawaii, I was Owner/Innkeeper of a highly successful Bed and Breakfast in the State of Washington for six years, before retiring, closing it, and moving to Nevada.
I felt these suggestions were important for the protection of our Association and for a qualified restaurant to succeed.
Again, I continued to be shocked at this ongoing fiasco, and began attending EVERY Board of Directors meeting with notes in hand to present to the Board at their podium for residents.
Many residents had the same concerns, voiced their opinions, and asked good serious questions.
Sadly, the questions were ignored, or the facts distorted; and, once again, it was business as usual.
"Trumpets" finally vacated the space; it cost us thousands to settle the lawsuit, and the Board desired a new Tenant.
A Restaurant Advisory Committee was appointed by the Board of Directors.
It appeared to me that having owned a restaurant or business previously was not necessary to be on this decision making committee.
The committee appointed had no restaurant background except for one couple, Tony and Camile Brunetta, who also were new residents to SCA at the time, and had owned restaurants, as well as, wholesale and retail food businesses.
I was invited twice to attend the restaurant advisory meetings by the Brunettas, who in my opinion, were the most experienced on the committee.
Both had extensive restaurant experience in addition to their wholesale and retail food companies on the East Coast.
With impressive credentials, they attempted to share what worked successfully for them over the years.
I watched them attempt to share their expertise, only to be ignored and disrespected.
While attending the second meeting (as a SCA owner not a committee member), I continued to be shocked at the Committee members lack of basic business experience and ignoring what little expertise they had on the committee.
I raised my hand, recommended THREE suggestions that I considered important, and left the meeting with the Brunettas as the meetings, at that point, were a waste of time for those watching with experience.
I always took copious notes when attending any meeting , in order to reference specifics in the future.
At the Restaurant Advisory Committee meetings AND at board meetings on a regular monthly basis, the following were my suggestions:
1. Hire a Nevada Licensed Real Estate Commercial Broker specializing in FOOD and BEVERAGE to find a qualified Tenant for the SCA space IF another restaurant was under consideration.
2. Hire a Nevada Licensed Attorney (law firm) specializing in FOOD and BEVERAGE to write a contract that protected the Association, to be rented as an empty space reflecting the Tenant is responsible for whatever is needed to succeed.
The previous restaurant contract had an INVENTORY attached to it! (unheard of in commercial real estate restaurant contracts) as it covered EVERYTHING!
A landlord NEVER leases a property as "turn key" with an inventory and contract stipulating that as equipment breaks or needs replacing, the Landlord pays.
3. Eliminate the Inventory Completely as it has been a Money Pit in the past, and continued to be one and it did NOT benefit the Association.
It only benefited the Tenant and there would be endless replacement and repair costs to the Association.
SIX years at an SCA Board Meeting Podium making the same three suggestions, repeatedly, and watching failure after failure with history repeating itself !
This current contract for Cafe V with continuous changes, rent reductions, and ongoing concessions is, in my opinion, the worst since we move here in 2006.
To read that a SCA Board Member could NOT answer a very basic and important question about Cafe V and whether or not Cafe V's insurance is in effect, is alarming, as you elaborated.
Cafe V has continuously defaulted on their contract with SCA, yet there appears to be No Enforcement of the terms of this contract, and the restaurant owner is rewarded (?) by rent reductions, late payments without penalties, free advertising, and other concessions (?).
If this were YOUR personal property being leased to Cafe V, the terms of the contract would be strictly enforced, and penalties would be assessed for delinquent payments; and, if not paid, the tenant would be given notice to vacate.
That's what I would do.
Who can afford to subsidize a failing business??
As I previously stated, I rarely, if ever, comment on website blogs, but this issue IS important and changes are needed NOW, in my opinion.
When you default in contract terms and allow insurance to lapse, among other things, "Notice To Vacate" should be given, in writing, immediately!
The Board needs to Enforce the terms of the Cafe V Contract and all other contracts.
Do you, our readers, feel similarly to Mrs. Duley?
Whether you do or not, we'd like to hear from you as well.
Send us an email at:
And most importantly....if you share Mrs. Duley's and our concern for the well-being of our retirement community's financial future, we ask a favor of you....
Make your friends aware of these issues, and share this information with them.
We'd like to believe, YOU CARE.
Anthem Opinions Administraion