Three Legged Monkey Owner Battles City
POSTED: Monday, July 11, 2011 - 5:48pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 6:42pm
EL PASO - You may remember city council voted in march to revoke the lease of Hawkins Business Plaza, the area where the Three Legged Monkey is located. Well the company that leases that plaza is fighting back, and it's now being fought out in bankruptcy court.
City leaders said the plaza did not meet it's obligation to keep the shopping center, "a first class shopping center."
But the owner of the Three Legged Monkey, Mike Armstron, says he feels he's being bullied by people with powerful city connections and isn't going down without a fight.
"If I were to say the dollar amount, it's just, it's a lot," Armstrong said. And apparently, the city's been spending a lot trying to close it.
A report from 2009 says the city had already paid almost $170,000 in staff hours and police and fire responses. But Armstrong says not all of those calls were legitimate. After all, police say in the last five years, they've made 962 visits to the plaza; that averages almost two calls a day. The most serious visit was in February, when a man was shot in the parking lot. Shortly after, city council decided to revoke the lease for the plaza. Still, Armstrong still says if you look at how many calls resulted in actual case numbers, the ratio would shock you.
"It's unfortunate that someone can abuse the system like that and the taxpayers have to pay for it," Armstrong said.
If you look through some of the police dispatch records for calls about the Three Legged Monkey, the name Irene Borunda appears regularly.
She's complained that cars were parking in front of her house and that the bar was over capacity. But in many of the these reports police found no such evidence.
We paid a visit to her home today, which is located several blocks away from the Three Legged Monkey - halfway down the street. No one answered the door.
"There are other reasons and connections to why they want this establishment closed," Armstrong said.
Turns out a man named Robert Borunda, who sits on the city's Construction Board of Appeals, has the same address as Irene. And a woman named Sylvia Borunda Firth works in City Hall and has been actively involved in hiring a mediator to deal with the issues.
We tried calling Sylvia but she only e-mailed us, saying she had nothing to do with the Three Legged Monkey.
Meanwhile, an e-mail from Assistant Police Chief Eric Shelton says they have devoted a lot of resources to the Three Legged Monkey with minimal results.
A security guard also filed a police report against Robert Borunda for allegedly trying to run him over. But the District Attorney's Office says they declined the case from a lack of evidence.
To add insult to injury, Armstrong says the DEA raided his mothers house four months ago, citing an anonymous tip that drugs were in the house.
After years of drama, it will now be up to a federal bankruptcy court judge to decide the fate of Hawkins Plaza.
"The cronyism that happens with the city no longer has a bearing on what happens with Hawkins Plaza.," Armstrong said.
In March, The Three Legged Monkey also filed this police report against Irene Borunda for abusing the 9-1-1 service. But they say they have yet to hear back from a detective.
To see a list of the visits from the city to the plaza, click on the file below.
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