Judge Gives Tinhorn Flats Two Weeks to Negotiate With the City

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Tinhorn Flats on Wednesday morning was paddle locked shut per a court order. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

It has been an interesting week in the saga of Tinhorn Flats vs. the City of Burbank.

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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.

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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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Friends in High Places:

    Indoor dining has re-opened.

    A fine and making nice is appropriate.

    I support bringing this to a close. The City and the court have better ways to spend our money…

    Let’s focus on resolution.

    The City should fine the establishment and let them have their CUP back.

    Indoor dining has reopened. This no longer makes sense to fight.

    I do not agree.

    Mend the City’s budget by using our money more carefully than this.

    The City Attorney spent $3 million in a year when we had a deficit.

    Be more careful with taxpayer money.

    Again, indoor dining has reopened.

    Mend and move on.

    • Well said Christopher! Hopefully both parties can come to an agreement (mend and move on). I remember when the Barbershops in Burbank had protested and stayed open last year. Nobody was force to go into a business or establishment that you did not feel comfortable. I went into Walmart yesterday and still saw folks unable to wear a mask properly. Also the city paid I think $100,000 for the mask police and I don’t seem them doing a great job. During this whole pandemic I would watch my neighbors choosing not to wear a mask, having people come over to their home (being inside and out of the home) but they are still able to live on my street.

  2. To our elected officials and judges: Please prosecute and punish the law breaking knuckle-heads at Tinhorn Flats to the FULLEST extent of the law. Please do not reward law breakers in any way. I have never seen such arrogance exhibited by any business owner in the fullness of time.

  3. Tinhorn – good name for the bar and owners:
    Definition. A contemptible person, a braggart, especially one pretending to have ability or influence or money, though lacking those traits: Example: ‘A tinhorn politician’

  4. Conspiracy spewing, violence encouraging, and ordinance defying businesses should have to suffer the consequences as a direct result of their actions, not just once, but day-after-day. No singular entity is above the law and we must not allow the city of Burbank to set such a precedent for a business in a time when health and safety protocols set forth by our knowledgeable medical
    community are blatantly disregarded, mocked and defied. The hostility Tin Horn Flats demonstrates on daily basis is not something to be ignored, justified, normalized, or accepted. This is a slap in the face to all other businesses that put community before profit. So many people and businesses are hurting, but a wealthy burger restaurant owner should not have the privilege of being the exception, contrary to what he publicly expresses on every social platform he uses. They’ve made their bed, and now they must lie in it, despite all the peas they’ve placed for themselves under the mattress.

  5. Permanently ban their family from operating a business of any kind within the city. They have shown repeatedly that they have absolutely zero respect for law and order. There’s no reason to trust their behavior in the future will be any different. They are not good neighbors.

  6. Receiving $65,000 in assistance and then staying open anyway means they should pay it back in full. They also lied when they said they did not provide indoor dining when we have seen the videos on Twitter showing the exact opposite. This was even addressed in the original Council Meeting in Burbank that resulted in their loss of the permit to operate. They are also attracting extreme right-wing supporters known to violence (there was a knife attack in front of THF as a result). Basically, they have destroyed all aspects of any kind of community standing. Even if they were allowed to stay open after all of this and the drama dies down, they will be left with a local community that hates them for what they have done. All while their owner, Baret Lepejian, hides out in Thailand, skipping the Council Meetings but showing up to do press via webcam. Why Thailand? (((This sentence has been edited out by myBurbank))) Come on back to the U.S. Baret and face this like a man and stop hiding behind your manipulated children.

    Pay back the money you received in assistance, pay all the fines, and reapply for your permits and then stay open and operate legally. It is simply what is right. You could have done this the right way or the wrong way – you chose wrong and now suffer the consequences while whining about being “persecuted”. This is all on you and your family’s greediness and arrogance. You’ve always had the money to lay low and ride this out all along. Instead, you become a grifter taking money from your “supporters”. There is a large group of current and former employees going back for years who know the true “man” behind the failed businesses surrounding Baret. All those supporters from outside the city and state are just armchair cheerleaders who have no idea the level of bad behavior exhibited by this spoiled rotten, silver spoon fed, handout taking, coward. We see you and we know you, Baret.

  7. They f’d around. It’s long past time they found out. Sure, it might result in a “gas leak” like at their previous property, but you shouldn’t get to thumb your nose up at the law, threaten government employees and then walk away with small little fines. The city, the county and the judicial system have been ineffectual (shame on you, weak-willed Burbank PD) but they shouldn’t be able to get away with this. It sets the wrong tone for any expectation for any business to bother following the rules. Run them out of town on the nearby rail. Anything less is embarrassing.

    But if supporting, upholding and cheering this kind of behavior on is who we are as a city, we might as well transplant the city to rural Texas.

    No mercy.

  8. Don’t negotiate with terrorists. They’ve chosen to fight on behalf of the virus. They’re prolonging the spread. They’re the enemy.

  9. Burbank’s last Stand against these fruitcake liberal communist… Stand tall Baret you have the right in America to operate your business and everyone willing to “Risk it” and visit the establishment should have that right also… are god given rights are liberty.. freedom and the right to pursue happiness… since when do we allow the Gov. to take this from us…. Is your business next?

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