Sunday, March 6, 2011

'GROSSLY UNFAIR': Tiger Hotel attorney slams media coverage of buyer's past

COLUMBIA, 3/6/11  (Beat Byte) --  Tiger Hotel attorney Dan Simon hit back at more than a dozen newspapers and media outlets that have reported on client Glyn Laverick's past projects, calling the accounts "grossly unfair and at best, only partially accurate" in a March 2 letter to the Columbia City Council.

Under conditions disclosed in the letter, Laverick is set to take ownership of the historic hotel in downtown Columbia and assume $1.8 million in TIF financing.  The hotel renovation has struggled to take off since the incentive package was first approved in 2009. 

"Recent publicity has painted my client, Glyn Laverick, in an unfavorable light, and has done so quite unfairly," Simon wrote the Council, proceeding to explain why dozens of press accounts over the past decade were wrong.  
The list of media outlets that have covered Laverick's grand starts and abrupt stops is a long one:  the Toronto Star -- where Ernest Hemingway began his career;  the Marshall, Missouri Democrat-News; Oshawa Central News; Oshawa Express; Inside Toronto; Durham Region News; KOMU; the Columbia Daily Tribune; Columbia Heart Beat; the Durham-Oshawa Town Crier; the Torontoist;  Exclaim! Magazine;  and the UK Northern Echo, to name a few.   
That they were unfair seems more than a stretch, especially given Laverick's unresponsive approach to his own defense and the consistency of media accounts.  

Though he did respond at length to the Columbia Heart Beat  for a February 20 story, in almost every other report of a project closure and unpaid creditors, Laverick did not answer media inquiries.  

In at least four Missouri-based lawsuits over unpaid bills, Laverick did not appear in court, either in person or via counsel, to take up his own defense.   Court records indicate that at least one judgment against him -- from the State of Missouri Employment Security Division -- remains unpaid seven years later.  

About Laverick's loss of the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, which he had leased from owner Mike Andrikopoulos for roughly five years, several different media outlets all reported the same thing:  that on August 16, 2010 Andrikopoulos evicted Laverick, changed the locks, and posted a notice to terminate the lease over unpaid rent of $44,857.86.  

The Torontoist even ran a picture of the notice (above).  After the story ran, Laverick apparently sent a note to reporters that his rent was going up 70%, though he didn't explain why he'd left so much back rent unpaid.

News reports in Oshawa were equally consistent.   In 2007, Laverick (right) bought a downtown landmark called the Regent Theatre from the City of Oshawa, promising to have it open by Dec. 31, 2008.    

From then on, the headlines spiral downward.   

First Regent Theatre show in 10 months ends in disaster 

Oshawa Regent Theatre's contractors out of pocket thousands 

Time is running short on Regent Theatre's contract with Oshawa;   

Regent Theatre scraps first planned show in months

And that's just from the Durham Region News, one of about six media outlets that covered the rise and fall of Laverick and the Oshawa landmark across dozens of stories.   The University of Ontario Institute of Technology ultimately took over the building while Laverick "could not be reached for comment."   

Five years earlier, Laverick's Full Circle Leisure, a Marshall, Missouri-based concert promotion company he operated with Marshall resident David Riley, turned off its phones, shut down its website, and closed its doors after failing to reimburse ticket holders for canceled concerts featuring Clint Black and Aretha Franklin. 

"Beth Hammock, spokesperson for the Missouri Attorney General's office, said that five people had filed formal complaints, filling out the required two-page form, and their office has received more than 30 complaints by phone, with several people who have called repeatedly," the Marshall Democrat News reported in one of over a dozen stories chronicling Laverick's activities in that city from 2003-04.

The stories followed a familiar path:  After great hoopla and early success, Laverick and his partner stopped operating -- and communicating. 

"With no official announcement, advertising or press releases from the company promoting the concert at the Crossroads Amphitheater, Full Circle Leisure LLC, ticket holders were left in the dark as to the cancellation," Democrat-News writer Matt Heger reported.  "Some reported driving 100 miles or more, and many had hotel accommodations.  One couple said they flew from Seattle for the concert, and others report spending more than $600 on tickets.  It's money they may very well never see again."  


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