It has been an interesting week in the saga of Tinhorn Flats vs. the City of Burbank.
On Wednesday, Tinhorn Flats posted on their Facebook page, “While we will never comply, we are at the table with the mayor, vice-mayor, their prosecutors, and our attorneys. The mayor of Burbank was amazingly gracious…showed an understanding of the massive turbulence that my two children and I have endured and a willingness to end the madness. The American way is compromise and I hope and pray that the mayor and the city council will come back with something we can all continue forward with and live with…”
That statement came the same day that the Burbank City Council announced that they were going to hold a special closed session hearing on Friday, March 26, which would be after the court case is supposed to be heard at 9:30 a.m. for the Preliminary Injunction the City has asked for against Tinhorn Flats. (Note: Tinhorn Flats is using their parent name, Barfly Inc.)
Evidently, Burbank Mayor, Bob Frutos, and the Vice Mayor, Jess Talamantes, met with the Tinhorn ownership two days before the case. When asked for a comment about the meeting, Simone McFarland, Burbank’s Public Information Officer said “The City is moving forward with our motion for a preliminary injunction, which is scheduled for a court hearing on Friday, March 26.”
We also sent emails to both Frutos and Talamantes asking for comment but neither one returned emails.
The hearing was held on Friday, March 26.
McFarland said, “The ruling is in favor of the City. However, at the hearing Barfly Inc’s attorney told the court the parties had met, he expressed his feelings the parties should be able to resolve the matter and asked the court to delay its decision. Although the City strenuously argued against the continuance, in the end, the judge kept the temporary restraining orders in place (meaning the restaurant is supposed to cease operating) and continued the hearing to April 9 to allow time to see if the parties can resolve the matter. Judges will land on the side of attempting settlement if there is any possibility. The Court made clear it was only hitting the pause button in this case. City Council is meeting in a closed session on March 26 to further discuss this case.”
The court did rule that Barfly, Inc. violated the Temporary Restraining Order multiple times and issued different fine amounts as ordered today by the Judge, Hon. Mitchell Beckloﬀ.
“Based on Barﬂy’s violation of the TRO on March 9, 2021, the court imposes a sanction of $500 on Barﬂy payable to the court within 30 days.
Based on Barﬂy’s violation of the TRO on March 14, 2021, the court imposes a sanction of $650 on Barﬂy payable to the court within 30 days.
Based on the foregoing, Barﬂy shall pay to the court as and for sanctions pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 177.5 a total of $1,150 within 30 days.”
This means Tinhorn Flats has been tentatively fined $1,150 for disobeying three different court directives. While Tinhorn Flats is now supposed to follow the order and remain closed. A check on the business Friday night found they are still open. As of today, Tinhorn Flats has raised over $46,000 for their defense fund.
After the last closed session was held March 16, a press release issued after that meeting, both the Mayor and Vice Mayor were quoted, ““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.”
And Bob Frutos said, “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.”
Tinhorn Flats has been doing their talking through their Facebook Page, where a few days ago they have just come up short of directly threatening the Council when they said, “”Ass-Clown Konstantine Anthony wants to escalate this?? My supporters and I WELCOME THE CHALLENGE. I will come after the City council as a whole and each member individually when it is COURT time and this Clown will be on my MOST WANTED poster. I will do everything in my power to destroy you just as you are trying to do to my business, my family and my right to exist.”
During the past four months, this has escalated from a restaurant that would not suspend their outside dining and was cited by the County Health Dept. to eventually pulling their Health License. They stayed open and defiant forcing Burbank to hold a hearing and pull their Conditional Use Permit which allowed them to operate.
Still, Tinhorn Flats resisted and refused to shut down its outside dining forcing Burbank to go to court where after several hearings, they were given permission cut their power and padlock their doors shuts. Still the restaurant refused to comply and cut one of the locks on the building, allowing people inside. Burbank police and fire both came out after being called for overcrowding. Even though the building was being occupied illegally and the doors were locked from the outside and the unapproved use of generators and BBQs could have caused a fire and potential loss of life, Burbank Police and Fire took no immediate action. Later that night an official came and took off the padlocks, citing the potential for loss of life from a possible fire from unapproved use of generators and BBQs as the reason, and the restaurant continued disregard of rules and violate the court orders, City permits, and health codes.
The restaurant has said all along that locking their doors and only doing takeout would not be enough and would force them out of business. They have also said that there is no science behind transmissions of COVID-19 at restaurants. According to the website ProPublica, Barfly Inc. (Tinhorn Flats) has received $65,118 to go to 19 employees for payroll that was approved on May 1, 2020. It is unknown if they have applied for more.
The Council once again met in a closed session Friday night (March 26) and nothing was reported out from that meeting. A check of Tinhorn Flats on Friday night showed the front doors open and the restaurant in business.
The saga will continue another two weeks until April 9 at 9:30 am when the parties return to court.