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Cincinnati Seeks To Recoup Losses From Development Loan For Failed Restaurant

A Cincinnati city council member is firing back at a restaurant owner who is demanding the city forgive part of a sizeable loan made to attract the business to the city.

“[Liz] Rogers got nearly a million dollars from city taxpayers to open her upscale soul food restaurant at The Banks, $300,000 of it in a taxpayer loan,” and is currently delinquent about $41,000 on the loan, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

In addition to the loan, Cincinnati “gave her a grant for $684,000 in an effort to lure a minority business owner to the riverfront development,” known as The Banks. (RELATED: Group Attacked for Being White in Cincinnati)

On Monday, Fox 19 reported that Council member Kevin Flynn had filed a motion “asking Cincinnati City Council to declare Liz Rogers’ Mahogany’s restaurant in default” on the loan, and to “declare the entire principal and interest to be immediately due,” in order to recoup its losses.

The motion was made in response to demands that Rogers made last week, when she asked City Council to “reduce her outstanding loan amount to $115,000” and delay repayments until 2016, as well as to release a lien on another property she owns that had been used as collateral on the loan. (RELATED: Candidates Campaigning Against ‘Corporate Welfare’)

Mahogany’s has actually been closed twice, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier: once, temporarily, in August due to back taxes owed to the State, and then permanently in September when it was evicted by its landlord for “late rent and other fees.”

Rogers has claimed that, “the city played a role in her troubles because The Banks are not what was promised — a live, work, play development,” the Enquirer reported, and has threatened to sue the city on that basis if her demands are not met.

In a letter to the city, Rogers’ attorney argued that “promises of a theater, hotel and office building at the Banks have not been fulfilled, which has led to a lack of foot traffic near the business.”

Rogers also claimed that, “she didn’t need the money given to her by the city and wishes she hadn’t taken it because it led to publicity that hurt her business,” the Courier said.

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