City of Burbank Gives Update About Tinhorn Flats – Restaurant Remains Defiant

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Lucas Lepejian, one of the owners, shows up at Tinhorn Flats on Wednesday morning to find the City padlocked the doors shut per a court order. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

On Tuesday, March 16, the Burbank City Council met in closed session to discuss the Tinhorn Flat litigation. While City Attorney Amy Albano did not release any new information, she did say the City would release a statement on Wednesday.

The City of Burbank installed three new padlocks on the front door of Tinhorn Flats on Wednesday morning per a court order. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

In the statement (below), the City gives a timeline of the entire Tinhorn Flats saga, starting with the County Health Department’s Order on December 6 to prohibit both indoor and outdoor dining in L. A. County. The timeline finishes March 16 with the latest order by the Judge that ordered the doors padlocked.

In a social media post made on Wednesday, Tinhorn Flats showed a picture of the hasp that looked to have been cut with the caption reading “Lock is off..we open at 12 noon. We will NOT comply with illegal and unconstitutional rules and mandates. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!”

A post on Facebook today showed while the City’s padlock was still attached, it appeared the hasp had been cut on a side door (Facebook Photo)

Tinhorn Flats has also started a GoFundMe account that as of 6 pm today has raised over $28,000. The fundraiser, started by owner Lucas Lepejian says, “Tinhorn Flats Legal Defense Fund- We will not comply with tyrannical rules and closures. The clowns at the Burbank City Council have illegally revoked our Conditional Use Permit and Los Angeles City has illegally revoked our health permit. We need this money to continue to fight for all our rights. The money will be used for Geragos & Geragos Law to keep our doors open.”

At 1:10 pm today, people were seen entering the business through a side door while the front doors remained padlocked.

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We sent emails to both the City and Police Department for comment. Sgt. Emil Brimway of the Burbank Police Department responded, “Our City PIO, Simone McFarland will be handling all media inquiries in regards to this matter.” McFarland responded by saying, “We will continue to assess and enforce the judge’s order on a day-by-day basis.” There was no mention of what actions would be taken or when and if either Burbank Police or L. A. County Sheriff Deputies would be involved.

Customers can be seen entering Tinhorn Flats from a side door after the City had padlocked the doors earlier Wednesday (Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

In a separate development today, a story by Kathleen Wilson of the Ventura County Star reported that the “Ventura County Board of Supervisors has decided to drop lawsuits against the five remaining businesses that refused to comply with public health orders forbidding indoor operations.”

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has decided to drop lawsuits against the five remaining businesses that refused to comply with public health orders forbidding indoor operations. The lawsuits were brought against two restaurants and three gyms in Ventura County.

While the front doors remained padlocked, customers were entering by the side door around 2 pm today. (Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

Here is the statement released today by the City of Burbank which includes the timeline of events:

After the continued flagrant disregard of prior Court rulings, a Los Angeles(LA) Superior Court Judge issued another ruling yesterday to authorize the City to lock the doors at Tin Horn Flats (operated by barfly, Inc.). The City this morning padlocked the doors. This is after the Court issued a temporary Restraining Order requiring Tin Horn Flats to close, followed by an authorization to disconnect the electricity.

Prior to the Court rulings, the City revoked its Conditional Use Permit. This action eliminated Barfly’s authority to maintain a restaurant/bar within Burbank at this location. This followed LA County Department of Public Health’s revocation of the restaurant’s Public Health Permit.

After the Court ordered Tin Horn Flats to cease operations on Monday, March 8, the restaurant has remained opened. On Friday, March 12, the Court granted the Cityauthorityto shut off the restaurant’s power since the City owns its own utility. On Saturday, March 13, the City disconnected the power and Tin Horn Flatsstill refused to cease operations and remained open using a generator.

Not only has Tin Horn Flatsrefused to obey Safer at Home Orders since December 10, 2020, during the COVID surge in LA County, “they – Tin Horn Flats – have flaunted their refusal to close on social media and in the press,” stated Mayor Bob Frutos. “While other Burbank businesses have complied and been a part of our communities’ solution, Tin Horn Flats has refused to do their part. The public assumption is that Tin Horn Flats believes they are above the law.”

“As a City, the last thing you want to do is shut down a business,” said Vice-Mayor Jess Talamantes. “At the same time, Tin Horn Flats has forced our hand and the City Council cannot ignore someone that is egregiously breaking the rules. They continue to be insistently defiant, compelling the City to continue to request assistance from the courts as this is our primary remedy to achieve compliance.”

“We asked Tin Horn Flats to work with us and they have refused. We were left with no choice but to move forward, revoking their ability to do business in Burbank. If we did nothing, the perception would be that we condone their activities, and we don’t.” added Frutos.

“Now Tin Horn Flats is complaining other restaurants can open, even for partial indoor dining, but they are required to close because they do not have a Public Health Permit or Conditional Use Permit. Tin Horn Flats created this situation by remaining open during the peak of the surge, while other restaurants followed state and County Health Orders and closed,” added Talamantes.

On March 26, another hearing is scheduled for a Preliminary Injunction to keep Tin Horn Flats closed until they receive a new County Public Health Permit to operate as a restaurant and a New city Conditional Use Permit to operate as a restaurant/bar. If granted by the Court, the Order, would be in effect until there is a trial or an appellate court overturns the Order.

Timeline 2021

March 16:         LA County Superior Court issues ruling authorizing the City to padlock the doors

March 12:         LA County Superior Court issues ruling authorizing the City to disconnect electricity

March 8:            LA County Superior Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order to cease operations at Tin Horn Flats

March 1:            City files a lawsuit for violating the Burbank Municipal Code and abatement of public nuisance

February 22: City revokes Conditional Use Permit allowing Tin Horn Flats to operate in the City, citing violation of the Conditional Use Permit and creating a public nuisance

January 27: LA County Public Health Permit Revoked for refusal to follow LA County Health Orders

January 27: LA County files a lawsuit for violating Emergency Health Orders, LA County Codes and abatement of public nuisance

January 12: LA County Counsel issued a Cease and Desist Letter

2020

December 13, 2020 to February 9, 2021: LA County Department of Health cited Tin Horn Flats 36 separate days for operating on a suspended and/or revoked Public Health Permit (This is a continuous violation because Tin Horn Flats never stopped operating.)

December 12: LA County Public Health Permit suspended

December 10, 2020 to January 24, 2021: Tin Horn Flats cited for violations 28 separate times by LA County Department of Public Health

December 10:Tin Horn Flats declares it will remain open regardless of State and County Health Orders and remains open to this day

December 9: LA County issues new Health Order to conform to the State’s order prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining

December 6 at 11:59 p.m.: New State order prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining due to the raising surge in COVID -19 cases takes effect in Southern California region including LA County.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The city council are behaving like petty bureaucrats, caught in a battle of wills against a small business that is standing up to irrational anti science diktats. Remember these council members when election time comes round. I will not vote for any of them.

  2. I would take stronger measures. Arrrest them! There was and is a pandemic going on.. they show they don’t care about their customers or employee health by staying open. People like them are the reason we kept things closed longer than it should been. I wish the city government would do something stronger

  3. Tin Horn Flats has had the courage to stand up to unlawful closure orders against something that doesn’t qualify as a “pandemic.” The city should drop the matter and stop acting like vengeful teenagers.

  4. More conservative crybabies claiming to be victims. They broke the rules and are complaining that they have to pay the price. These patriots pride themselves on person responsibility but when push comes to shove they are just snowflakes looking for special treatment.

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