While the pandemic is over and life is returning to normal, there are still reminders from that time that have yet to be settled.
A brief history:
When the pandemic started, the Los Angeles County Health Department issued orders regarding how restaurants could remain in business. One of these directives was for no indoor seating. After refusing to follow the County directives, County Health pulled their permit to operate.
Once that happened and they continued to stay open to business, the Burbank City Council held a Public Hearing on February 22, 2021 at which time they revoked the Conditional Use Permit for Tinhorn Flats since they were now operating without a County Health Permit.
With the owners still refusing to close and outside parties coming into the City to protest, the City went back to court and got orders from the judge to cut the restaurant’s utilities and even went as far as erecting a fence around the property to stop the owners from staying open.
Despite these measures, Lucas Lepejian of North Hollywood, the son of owner Baret Lepejian, was arrested on three different occasions for not obeying the court orders.
When asked the current status of the lawsuit filed by the City against Tinhorn Flats (Barfly, Inc.) and the results from the arrest of the owner’s son, the Burbank City Attorney’s office told myBurbank that as of January of 2023, he had completed his sentence.
“All three arrests were consolidated into one criminal filing under Los Angeles County case number 1BK00781. Defendant was granted Judicial Diversion, over our objection. The diversion was for a 1 year period, starting 1/7/2022. He was to obey all laws, complete 40 hours of community service, and he was not to operate a business in the city of Burbank without a valid license.
The defendant appeared on 1/9/2023 and provided proof of completion of the 40 hours of community service and did not sustain any new arrests or convictions in the 1-year period. His case was therefore dismissed by the Court for successful completion of Judicial Diversion per Penal Code 1001.95. All of his cases are currently closed.” in the written response from the City Attorney’s Office.
Burbank has sued the ownership to recoup the costs involved in all the actions the City has had to take. As of September of 2021, those expenses had reached over $287,000. The City Attorney’s Office confirmed that the legal action is continuing to move forward, “The next hearing date is November 6, 2023. Trial is currently set for December 6, 2023.”
Barfly, Inc. has also countersued the City on October 12, 2021, stating in court papers for “violation of 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.” The suit also cites cruel and unusual punishment by the city, calling it “unconscionable” that they may have to face “ruinous fines and months of incarceration for attempting to earn a living when there are zero factual or scientific bases that exist so as to support the notion that Cross-Complaintaints’ business is responsible for the spread of COVID-19.
In November of 2021, it was reported that the owner of the property, Isabelle Lepejian, sold the property that Tinhorn Flats sits on at 2623 W Magnolia Blvd., after evicting her former husband from the business in June of that year. Immediately after the property sold, the City removed the fencing from around the building.
The new owner of the property is Old Fashioned Investment, LLC and have filed paperwork with the City to open a new restaurant called Magnolia House.
Below is the timeline of events from the City of Burbank’s website: