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Three Legged Monkey Owner Battles City


POSTED: Monday, July 11, 2011 - 4:48pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 5:42pm

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.

1550 Hawkins.pdf85.1 KB

Comments News Comments

Pathetic of what the city of El Paso has become. Business owner running his restraunt/bar, employing staff, paying taxes, and literally doing some things right to accomodate the city. Put your business in my town (Phx), and we will be happy to give to him our money!

It’s not who you know it’s what reputation you left behind. Oh my god there is someone who works at city hall with the same name?! You can’t have that! Why is the news reporting on bar owners conspiracy theories, next he is going to join up with Jessie Ventura and investigate the JFK assassination.


Hey SFC, you do know that a lot of regulars that frequent that bar are military right? I admit that a year and a half ago I would have agreed with you, but I gave it another chance and that place has come so far from what it used to be. Believe me there are by far more worse bars in El Paso than the Three Legged Monkey.

Calm down, Irene!! You got caught!!

Wow, another example of corruption in El Paso! It's the people you know that's for sure! Didn't the borundas think this was going to all catch up to them! The psycho husband with his big truck running over people and all those 911 calls! Unreal! People do go to jail for that, bit they probably know someone there too...

For your information the so call "Psycho's husband" was not charged or arrested for "running over people." Why....because, the accuser - a 3 Legged Monkey employee- by the way, falsified the allegations, not only did they lie, they staged it! Talk about wasting tax payers money. (Pot calling the kettle black.) What a pathetic, desperate act. Shame on You and the 3 Legged Monkey!!!!!!!

"No Duh!!!!" The Borundas couldn't be reached for comment because they were on a Carribean Cruise with the entire City counsel and the Major for good measure. LOL,LOL,LOL.

Get your facts straight!!! You obviously don't know what your talking about. You've been drinking too much of that RAT HOLES poison because your obviously short a few brain cells. Also,take off those beer goggles.

}< RealFactsMatter

If in fact this report is correct, this sure makes EL Paso seem more and more like a sleepy wild west city, where the bad guys run it at will.

El Paso is a wild west town people get shot outside a bar.

Get rid of that murder-hole and put in a nice family restaurant.

I am former military and what happened that night isn't the bar's fault. Wow one dumb individual who wasn't strong enough to handle his anger shot someone outside of the bar. Next thing you know ppl will start calling El Paso a "murder-hole" because of what happens right outside of El Paso in the city of Juarez. Take your ignorance somewhere else please

Well maybe now that it seems that there is obvious abuse of power all this non sense will stop..Talk about people wasting real police time.. Sadly Mrs. Borunda doesn't realize the revenue 3 legged Monkey brings or the people employed who could loose their jobs over stupid people!!!!

If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Armstrong should have moved to another location long ago. There is allot to be said that he has connections too; it’s no miracle that he has lasted so long. The lease says that bankruptcy is subject to immediate termination, so bankruptcy court is just a formality. It’s time to find a new place Mike.

The fact that the city is spending so much resources to try to close this place down is saddening. When it comes time to vote I hope the ppl of El Paso do something about this sad excuse of city govt. I should go back to Austin.

I do not feel what the city is doing is correct.
I hope the strip center and the three legged Monkey have the wisdom to hire a out of town law firm. I am a native El Pasoan and every body is related or friends in this comunity.
To me this is not about settling, its about makeing them in power pay! for their (abuse of power)

that is why el paso can never be what it is like in other major cities like san antonio, or dallas with people like this. there is nothing wrong with that club. leave him alone!!!!!!!!!!!! this city is full of jealous people that have power trips and cant stand to see others succeed. those people calling 911 should be investigated everyone is abusing their authority here. dont give up three legged monkey!!!!!!! people will lose jobs!! remember we dont need more people on unemployment

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