Monday, November 06, 2006

City Played Hardball With Hollywood Bar & Filmworks Owner

Ted Bulthaup, owner of the now-defunct Hollywood Bar & Filmworks, shares a disturbing account of what the City of Indianapolis did in retaliation for his and other local business efforts for pressing the parking issue in his full-page ad in the Indianapolis Star. This is the passage that really caught my eye:

. . . Just after the meeting adjourned we found that a CIB official had lied to us and we went to the press with the lie. The minutes for that last meeting for the last IDI Task Force meeting were never issued, even though I requested a transcript. [Tamara] Zahn refused because they would have proven that official had lied. That CIB official later told a neighborhood businessman that if we thought we were bad off now; just wait until he was done with us (meaning getting even for the blowing of the whistle). At the time, I received the casket company brochure through the mail which I am sure was an implied threat for someone. My business then also became a target for every state and city inspector available. Within weeks my business was inspected by agencies that had never looked at us before. Anybody who had signed the petition was contacted by either Zahn or the head of the IDI Parking Partnership who tried to pressure them to take their name off the petition. This effort also included both IDI and other government officials contacting the Landlords of many of the restaurants in an effort to solicit their help in suppressing their tenant's vocal unrest with the situation. In two cases the pressure tactics worked and restauranteurs asked (or should I say were forced to ask) that their names be removed from the petition. This was a despicable pressure tactic unethical by any standard . . .

And you probably thought that these kinds of things only happened in Chicago.

UPDATE: Because some people who work for Mayor Peterson have felt compelled to comment on Mr. Bulthaup and his business, I feel compelled to share the story about his little appearance on WIBC the other morning. It seems the Mayor was talking to Terri and the Pidge on WIBC when he suddenly started having trouble hearing after Pidge asked him about the parking question. When Terri jumped in and repeated a question the question to him, the Mayor said he couldn't hear her either and hung up, which provoked laughter and disbelief in the WIBC studio and listening audience.

The Mayor's popularity with the Indianapolis public is a thing of the past. If the Republicans field a serious, well-financed candidate next year, they will be able to defeat him. AI is quite concerned about a rumor on the street that some people are talking up a certain partner at Ice Miller to take outgoing Mike Murphy's place as county GOP chairman. If that happens, Republicans can kiss the mayor's race goodbye. Ice Miller has a vested interest in the re-election of the Mayor. Peterson used to be a partner at the firm, and Ice Miller partner Lacy Johnson is one of the biggest beneficiary's of that relationship--having been handed the keys to the Indianapolis Airport Authority as its board president with control over the billion dollar midfield terminal project.


Anonymous said...

Gary-what was that quote from? Could you please post a copy of the add? I prefer to avoid the Star myself. Thanks!

Gary R. Welsh said...

An ad taken out in today's Star. You will need to buy a copy of the newspaper. I don't have a link.

Anonymous said...

Jeez... this guy is such a loser. Crying and moaning. Sorry, but his business just isn't a success. Free parking won't change that. Hell, why didn't he just provide cheap valet parking for his customers, if he really thinks parking was a significant issue?!

What a loser. Good ridance. His vacating the place will finally allow a better-suited business to go in. We'll all benefit by that.

Buh - bye Teddy......

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:39

I doubt if you ever went to the HBFW. It was a great place to see a movie and relax with friends.

Its sad how the city treated business like his. It will be missed

Anonymous said...

anon 9:05 -- How has the City treated any 'business like his' that's so sad? HBFW owner claims his business failed because people couldn't park easily. What's up with that? How are all the other businesses in the area doing so well?

Anonymous said...

HBFW didn't close because of the parking. Notwithstanding the owner's contentions, it closed because it was a bad businesss model.

I went to HBFW several times, and I occasionally had a good time, but I eventually lost interest in it for several reasons:

(1) It only shows second run movies. While I do appreciate the ability to drink a beer at a movie theater, if it's a movie out on DVD, I'd just as soon watch it on my big screen TV at home.

(2) The food wasn't that good. It wasn't awful, but if I'm going to be paying for dinner downtown, I'd rather have something else.

(3) It took forever to watch a movie there, because of the slowness getting started due to the ordering and the intermission; this meant that you were spending 3+ hours in the same location. I also didn't like that they added an intermission to the movie in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe a word from this malcontent. Read the whole ad. It's a rambling diatribe against almost all things Bart. You'll get your chance to continue this nonsense after tomorrow's election, Gary...I sense your guns are loaded and you're ready to fire. Bring it on. Bart's at 71% in Republican internals.

I've known Tamara Zahn and IDI for 15 years. She has an impeccable reputation. No one I know has ever questioned her integrity. That's where Ted's diatribe fell apart. It's just not credible.

I was a visitor to his establishment maybe half a dozen times. I kept trying because I wanted it to be better, but it never was. The food was mediocre, or worse. And that bad food wasn't cheap. The place needed a good scrubbing. And I could never find his movie listings on the popular websites. He was too freaking cheap to list there.

And guess how many times it was difficult to find a parking place? NOT ONE TIME.

The Bart & Melina economic development show isn't a jaggernaut. It wasn't bad, but this complainer needs to go back wherever he came from...

Good damned riddance. Ted, your 15 minutes are up.

Anonymous said...

HBFW was agreat place to go for a cocktail, meal and a movie. But people, please use some common sense here.

If a man's business is going under, he/she has a combined $50,000-plus to pay for full-page ads in the Star?

I don't think so.

Who paid for Ted's ads, which happen to coincide with the Nov. 7 election?

Dig grasshoppers, dig.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, 12:38. But Ted the Genius didn't pay his business and/or payroll taxes for a period of time either, and remained open.
He robbed his kids' college funds to keep the business open.

So, $30-50K for some rambling ads that indict the mayor and Melina, a few days before the election...hey, what's that? Nuthin.

If he still owes the taxes, you can bet the IRS is not amused. They view that kind of large discretionary expense dimly, if you're still trying to find a way to pay back taxes. As a matter of fact, whilst purusing the tax code over the weekend for another reason, I came upon cases and regulations which could make that activity illegal conduct. It depends on the level of IRS collection to which Ted has risen.

He might as well have bought a Mercedes.

And I disagree about the food. I've talked to numerous friends, and their experience agrees with mine. It was lousy. I kept going back, trying to give the place a chance, because I like the business model.

Got a pizza once---it was ketchup on a cracker. I've had Convenience store microwave crap that was better.

This isn't about parking. It's about childish paybacks.

Anonymous said...

This guy has been a whiner and complainer for years. Parking is not the issue. Even on event nights at the Fieldhouse, there is plenty of inexpensive parking available within a VERY short walk of HBF. Other small businesses AREN'T failing in the wholesale district.
If he had taken the money he put into the full-page ads and instead invested in upgrading his venue, improving the food service and marketing its offerings, perhaps he could still be open for business.
Adios, Ted, downtown will do quite well without you.

MikeJones321321 said...

The first (and only) time I visited HBFW it took me 2 minutes to park and 20 minutes to actually find your venue and walk up your stairs because the elevator was broken. Your venue was poorly signed. You always had out dated movies, never the latest must-see. I paid your high marked up prices on watered down draft beer and even worse food. I involuntarily inhaled 2 packs of Camel non-filters during the movie. Your wait staff was okay? You need to produce a good product that people like to stay in business. Please stay in Chicago where it costs $30 to park instead of $3.

**Hell parking was least expensive and most enjoyable part of the evening**

Anonymous said...

I'll miss Hollywood Bar and Filmworks. I started going when it first opened. He came downtown to that location when few would and made it work.

I know first hand the scruples and ethics of our Mayor. He is not an honest man.