Sarah Hoyt is a 32-year old life-time Indianapolis resident who didn't shy away from commenting on political newcomer, Chuck Brewer, when media reports on Monday revealed he was the candidate the leadership of the Marion Co. Republican Party had anointed as the party's candidate for mayor to succeed Mayor Greg Ballard, the accidental mayor who is retiring after two terms as the city's mayor. "I wouldn't call his businesses very successful," Hoyt, a former general manager of the Potbelly Sandwich Shop owned by Brewer on Monument Circle wrote in the comments wall on an Indianapolis Star online story touting the former Sears executive and Iraqi War veteran. "As the general manager for one of his businesses for 2 years, his leadership is definitely questionable," Hoyt said. "He will not be receiving my vote."
Sarah TheFunone Elizabeth I wouldn't call his businesses very successful. As the general manager for one of his businesses for 2 years, his leadership is definitely questionable. He will not be receiving my vote.
Hoyt, who has held numerous jobs in the hospitality industry since graduating from Ben Davis High School in 2000, first crossed paths with Brewer when she started working at his Potbelly franchise as a cashier about two and a half years ago. Within three months, Brewer promoted her to assistant shift lead. As fate would have it, she was quickly elevated to a new role as assistant manager when a general manager quit working for Brewer. By this same time last year, Hoyt had become general manager of Potbelly as he was launching his second restaurant, Soupremacy. Hoyt left her job in September to begin classes full-time at Ivy Tech, where she is studying to become a substance abuse counselor.
Hoyt had the opportunity to interact a great deal with Brewer over the past two and a half years. Brewer, a single divorced father of a pre-teen son, travels back and forth frequently between his Indianapolis home and a Chicago home he continues to maintain according to Hoyt. Brewer, who has been engaged in contentious litigation over child custody matters over the past several years with his ex-wife since his 2010 divorce became final according to Cook County Circuit Court records, shares custody of his son with his ex-wife. According to Hoyt, Brewer often travels to Chicago to exercise his parenting time rights with his son, in addition to his ongoing reporting duties as a reserve officer in the Marines. Occasionally, she said Brewer brought his son with him to Potbelly when he was exercising his parenting time, whom Hoyt described as a very well-mannered and behaved child.
One of Hoyt's frustrations working for Brewer was her belief that he treated male and female workers differently. Small talk between fellow employees upset her when she realized some male employees spoke of earning higher wages than female counterparts performing the same job, although Hoyt said she knew of no formal complaints ever filed against Brewer for discrimination. She became particularly upset when she learned Brewer was paying college tuition for a male counterpart, a benefit never offered to her. Like many hospitality workers, Brewer offered no health care benefits to his employees, even for the full-time general manager position she last held. Hoyt said Brewer insisted that no hourly employees be permitted to work over-time hours because he did not want to pay them over-time pay as required by law.
Hoyt also described Brewer, who was normally a pleasant person for whom to work, as having a short fuse. His management style typically left it to his general manager to work out problems with employees, but she observed instances when he became angry with an employee and began yelling and spewing four-letter words at them. She recalled one instance where he became infuriated because a manager had allowed an employee to take a smoking break outside. The manager was so overcome by his anger that he left, only later returning to work after Brewer smoothed things over with him. When Hoyt was promoted to her job as general manager, Brewer neglected to reflect her higher wages on her first paycheck following her promotion, which became a problem for her as she was attempting to secure credit to purchase a car. Hoyt said Brewer showed no sympathy for her plight when she was forced to make a higher down payment based on lower wage earnings, telling her she should have waited until he corrected her pay on the next paycheck.
One of the questions I asked of Hoyt was where she believed Brewer lived. Although she never visited his home, she knew carry out orders had been delivered to it by the restaurant's bicycle delivery workers. She understood he lived in a condo not far away on Meridian Street. That is consistent with my own research, which found a Charles W. Brewer listed as the owner of a condominium in the Athletic Club at 350 N. Meridian Street. Marion County Assessor records show Unit #607 at the Athletic Club was transferred to a "Charles W. Brewer" on April 19, 2011. A homestead exemption has been claimed on the property for tax years 2012 through 2014 according to the assessor's records, which has a current assessed value of $342,700.
The question of Brewer's residence is intriguing. Before he announced earlier this week he would be running for mayor, Brewer filed a statement of organization indicating he planned to run in District 23 for a seat on the Indianapolis City-County Council. On the form he filed with the Marion Co. Election Board, he listed an address at 623 Slate Drive, Apt. B, which is located on the city's south side in Perry Township. If Brewer is the owner of a condominium in the Athletic Club, which is consistent with Hoyt's understanding of where he resided, why would he have been seeking election to the City-County Council in District 23? As Brewer explained to various reporters, he sought out GOP party leaders for their support for mayor after filing paperwork to run for a seat on the City-County Council when he learned they were having difficulty finding someone to run for mayor.
According to Hoyt, local Republican Party officials frequently dined at Potbelly and conducted meetings there while she worked for Brewer. Hoyt said Brewer was always very friendly with these Republican officials and sometimes furnished lunch to them for free. She was not familiar with these individuals by name other than Denise Moe, who has served as campaign manager and treasurer for State Sen. Pete Miller (R-Avon). Hoyt had no knowledge of Brewer's personal finances, although he seemed to her to be very frugal in how he spent his money. He had originally planned to open other Potbelly restaurants in the area but those plans fell through. That's when he decided to launch Soupremacy. Hoyt said he was very secretive about his plans to open up the second restaurant. She didn't even learn of his plans to open it until about a week before it opened for business. After it opened, she said she felt pressured by him to improve sales at Potbelly because of lagging sales at Soupremacy.
Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me. I regrettably backed Greg Ballard for mayor in 2007 based upon a total bunch of lies he fed to me about his political views. I won't make that mistake again. The Marion Co. GOP may not have bothered to take the time to vet this unknown candidate they've anointed as their candidate for mayor, but his blog will do it whether they like it or not. We know the fawning Indianapolis media can't be expected to do their job either.