Reader: Is the El Diablo story a trip to Imaginationland?

Categories: Contests

rockbar-eric-gruneisen-2.5284160.131.jpg
The First Avenue Hotel saga continues, with El Diablo and Sketch remaining closed, and some of their specialties now served at Rockbar (above), also owned by Jesse Morreale. Much of the discussion concerns Morreale himself -- and how this story should be covered.

Says Rawdoggin:


I guess it depends on what you consider a "douche" If a "douche" is just a socially offensive individual, then the issue of Jesse's "douche" status does seem irrelevant from a news perspective.

But if you define a "douche" by someone who makes a career by intentionally leveraging social, commercial and political connections, and then finds oneself persecuted by the same system they were trying profit from, perhaps there is legitimacy in digging deeper into this story.

Some questions that do come to mind are whether Jesse's arrangement with the city is unique, and if not, are other proprietors facing the same scrutiny? And if Morreale is being singled out, what reasons are behind these actions? Are there circumstances, relationships and transactions that lead up to this?

A little curiosity and the ability to access Google show that this guy is not some line cook who aspired to open his own place and got screwed by the local authorities because he got in over his head. And, if you base your judgement solely on documents issued by lawyers on either side, then this must be your first day in ImaginationLand.

Do you know of other restaurateurs concerned about scrutiny from the city? (And no, we're not talking Frank Bonanno.) Is there too much coverage of the El Diablo story, as other commenters suggest? Post your thoughts below.



Location Info

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Rockbar - CLOSED

3015 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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9 comments
Conflicted
Conflicted

Just wait.  After the city has foreclosed on the building after forcing Jesse default on his City loans after he's had to give up his businesses and ownership to the building, good 'ol John Huggins will come marching in buying the building for pennies on the dollar and within days, the building will be declared "safe for occupancy".  A few months later, he'll sell it for about a 900% profit.   Yes, this is the way it works in Denver.  Follow the money.  Follow the cronies.  Follow the conflicts.  Follow the crooked deals.  It's easier than a paint by  numbers.

Iloveagrand
Iloveagrand

Thats what freedom is about ... News ... Speculation ... Opinions are allowed . I'm totally opposed to meetings behind closed doors without us getting some clue what is happening ... We watch football for the same curiousity to root for one team or the other Or maybe your right ... Let's just let them all talk behind closed doors and wonder what happened ...

offdisc
offdisc

When Morreale signed the papers to expand Sketch, they included the city's requirements to make the building safe and bring it up to code. If Jesse didn't agree with those estimations, he would never have signed those papers. So your point is irrelevant. Both parties already agreed the building was unsafe 2 years ago. The proof was show back then. It is a landmark, so protected against demolition, but that doesn't mean its been kept up. Also means it cannot become a "parking lot"; Denver already protected the building.

NoBo Bear
NoBo Bear

Well said. Like the Bonnano story: per the inspection reports posted in the comments, what started as a story on a guy "putting up the good fight", now appears to be some disingenuous indignation on Bonnano's part and in the reporting by "Westword" (or was it sloppy "research" [read: none]).

Iloveagrand
Iloveagrand

Morreale is fighting for his life here ... And the livelihood of employees ... I want to see what the city has for an actual proof of unsafe building ... If Morreale did something without proper channels ... Fine him! But don't call an old historic building unsafe without proof ... And if they have Proof ! Then please let us see it . I've seen it vary in America ... Some city governments are very pro old historical buildings and some would rather have brand new parking lots and new buildings with no heart ... Left in place of old .

epl
epl

Perhaps (and this is just speculation) the City isn't interested in resolving this dispute through the Westword food blog and it's comments section.  Perhaps (and, again, speculation) they're more interested in resolving the dispute privately with Mr. Morreale and his counsel.  Perhaps (speculation), given that the City doesn't really have a PR/advertising angle to play here, what is being reported from the mouth of Mr. Morreale and his advocates should be taken with a grain of salt and considered as potentially self-serving/selective reporting.  I suspect there's a bit more going on here that what we've been told.  I don't fault Westword too much--if only one party is willing to talk, it can't really present both sides.  To the extent Westword is at fault, it lies in their saturation of coverage (which amounts to free ad space for El Diablo) and their portrayal of Mr. Morreale's side of the story as the truth.  In the end, I have a feeling this situation will be resolved without much fanfare.  Why?  Because I suspect the City is on to something here and when it gets resolved with anything less than a complete exoneration of Mr. Morreale, I don't anticipate him publicizing it like he has the events of the past week.  This is, of course, all speculation on my part.

Iloveagrand
Iloveagrand

NO !!! Not too much coverage ... You're very fair in reporting both sides of the facts. We're in job crisis times here ... Still looking to See the evidence the city has to call this beautiful historic building unsafe ... What about The Oxford and other great historical buildings ??? Are they in jeopardy too ??? Please get the facts, the lists by the city !!! We want proof !!!

NoBo Bear
NoBo Bear

Sorry, got my dates messed up on the cited posts, but, my point stands, maybe stronger now since the cited paragraph came after the other cited post. Skewing from somewhat balanced story to somewhat misleading.

NoBo Bear
NoBo Bear like.author.displayName 1 Like

Is there too much coverage of this "saga"? Yes. Since nothing really is going on, it's no news news. And a bit too one-sided IMO. As pointed out in http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/07/post_67.php all the paper work/both sides of the story have not been seen/represented. Also, Patricia Calhoun has written some misleading text for this story, the way I read it. In http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/07/el_diablo.php "Protesters gathered outside the First Avenue Hotel late yesterday afternoon, waving signs and asking the city to allow Sketch and El Diablo to reopen -- and for employees of those restaurants to start collecting paychecks again. They've also started a petition on the web -- at www.saveeldiabloandsketch.com -- asking the same thing." "Protesters" and "they" seem to actually be Morreale and his employees. The accompanying picture in the above link has a woman pretty clearly holding a sign that says, at the bottom, "our jobs". And then in a later post,  http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/07/first_avenue_hotel.php "And this weekend, Morreale posted a notice on El Diablo and Sketch:" followed by the text of Morreale's message, including the  www.saveeldiabloandsketch.com link. Sure, there's enough wiggle-room in the quoted paragraph to give "Westword" an out re: their journalistic fairness, but the cynic in me...

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