Toby Keith's namesake bar continues to be the subject of multiple lawsuits, including one in Lansing, Michigan.
Although Keith loaned his name to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, he doesn't have anything else to do with the restaurant, and it's unclear how much he knows about the lawsuits.
In 2015, 17 of the 20 Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill locations closed following claims that its parent company, Boomtown Entertainment, was not paying its landlords or contractors correctly. As a result, multiple malls and locations where the restaurants were built have sued the owners.
Such was the case in Lansing, when a mall in the city filed suit against the owners of the restaurant. According to the Detroit Free Press, the restaurant developers, CRGE Lansing LLC and Boomtown Entertainment, made a contractual vow with the mall on Decemeber 31, 2013.
After the agreement was made, WLNS 6 reports that the restaurant's owners started construction on the new location in the mall, but never finished.
By November 2014, the mall had paid almost $2.2 million to the restaurant developers for construction, but the contractors brought it to the mall's attention that the developers were not paying them correctly.
Due to the situation, the mall started eviction procedures against the restaurant and went to court in an attempt to get their money back. But at the time, a Boomtown spokesperson said that the reason the restaurant hadn't opened yet was in part due to the mall's parent company, Rouse Properties of New York.
"It’s not just about rent…There is a discrepancy on us getting paid [on schedule] from Rouse. So there’s a dispute as to who’s at fault for us not being open," said the spokesperson.
Eventually, Rouse filed suit against the restaurant owners in June 2015, after experiencing issues with other Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill locations at some of its other malls. The lawsuit stated that even after two years, the owners still hadn't moved forward with construction at two separate locations:
"Despite their obligations to build-out the restaurants, the Toby Keith tenants have uniformly failed to live up to their construction obligations. Indeed, two of the five leases have been terminated based on the Toby Keith tenants’ utter failure to pursue any construction…for over two years."
By December 11, 2015, Boomtown had not responded to the suit, and to this date have still not commented on it.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker took that into consideration when he ruled in favor of the mall, saying the restaurant owners now owe $6.2 million to make up for construction expenses, rent, and attorneys' fees.
Besides serving classic southern cooking, the Toby Keith I Love This Bar & Grill restaurants also featured music venues and dance halls, allowing guests to enjoy dining in a honky-tonk atmosphere. You can listen to the song that inspired the project in the video below.
Interested in becoming a partner?
Contact us for more info.