Judge grants restraining order; El Diablo and Sketch now open

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Update, 7:05 p.m., January 11: Attorneys for Morreale Hotels LLC filed a motion today in Denver District Court, asking a judge for a temporary restraining order against the City of Denver that would allow El Diablo and Sketch to reopen. And after a hearing that started at 2 p.m. today and lasted for hours, the judge agreed to a ten-day TRO: Both Sketch and El Diablo will be open tonight, although serving limited menus.

Read the full legal motion -- and our earlier post -- below, and watch for updates.

See also:
- Jesse Morreale's First Avenue Hotel slapped with notice to vacate -- again

- Jesse Morreale's First Avenue Hotel still faces an October 31 deadline
- Jesse Morreale's fight with the city doesn't end at Rockbar -- the First Avenue Hotel is next

Verified Complaint by

Original post: Early on January 4, almost a week ago, the city again slapped the First Avenue Hotel with a notice to vacate, shutting down the circa 1906 building and the two restaurants located there, El Diablo and Sketch. The restaurants have been closed ever since.

On Monday, January 7, owner Jesse Morreale and his attorney filed an appeal with the city, asking for an emergency hearing -- which would have to be held within 72 hours of the filing. But so far, no hearing has been set.

"The attorney for 101 N. Broadway filed an appeal of the City's July 30 Order to Vacate, that Order was reposted on January 7," says assistant city attorney Scott Martinez. "We believe that due process is important and will continue to work with the business owner to solve this fairly and accurately. The City Attorney's Office will not be commenting further since we do not comment on ongoing proceedings."

As for that, Morreale says, "The City Attorney's representation of the basis upon which the appeal was filed is inaccurate, which comes as no surprise because inaccurate statements have the pattern with the City's statements surrounding the 101 Broadway dispute."

And his attorney, Jack Reutzel, elaborates: "The owner of 101 Broadway filed an appeal of the January 3, 2013 Order to Vacate. In addition to the appeal of the new Order to Vacate, the Owner has also appealed the CBO's decision regarding the studies and permit work submitted by the Owner that demonstrate full compliance with all City requirements as the owner was directed to do.

"The City Attorney's statement that they 'believe that due process is important' is disingenuous, because we believe that the code requires that within three days of an order by the CBO deeming a building unsafe that a hearing by the BOA is required if requested. Had the City honored City Code and Regulations themselves, then the owner's due process entitled them to a hearing by the Board no later than today, and as of now we still have not received even an overture as to the scheduling of a hearing, much less a hearing itself.

"As a result, in addition to the other harm the City has made the Owner and their employees suffer, every day of additional delay by the City causes further damage and violates the Owner's fundamental right to due process."

We have a request in with the Department of Community Planning and Development to find out if the request for a hearing will be granted. In the meantime, here's the appeal that Reutzel filed on Morreale's behalf:

first avenue hotel by


Location Info

El Diablo - CLOSED

101 Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Sketch Food & Wine - CLOSED

11 W. 1st Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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16 comments
patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

it's a never-ending story.

last we looked, restraining order runs until April 1.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

yes, we will. the temporary restraining order was for just ten days.

theglobalguy
theglobalguy

Hey WW, any follow up reporting coming on this story?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Note to ALL Morreale Employees = Find Another Job ASAP !!

You're on the RMS Titanic ... with Capt. Ahab at the helm.


sporobolus
sporobolus

Westword posts the legal motion, but doesn't give detail on what the Judge actually ordered (which if you read the order, could have gone any of several ways); the pattern in these articles is that Morreale is feeding Westword most of the information published and Westword is doing a minimum of actual reporting

CloudGang
CloudGang

Were are a republic!

yet the courts are continuously violating citizens rights on a daily basis. I'm impressed a restraining order was even granted.

Fuck the police fuck fuck the police.

Bobsal
Bobsal

Come on. Just fix the stuff the city has asked you to fix! Get your employees back to work!!

Tiredofthisstory
Tiredofthisstory

Let the building go into foreclosure, and let someone with business acumen and ETHICS take over both properties, as Global Guy says. It's sad that the owner's mismanagement has run both successful restaurants into the ground and that numerous employees suffer because of it. I think it's pretty clear that Jesse Morreale is a complete joke now. 

Squeaks
Squeaks

where in the hell is the city council person for this area - please interview her and put it in westword.

theglobalguy
theglobalguy

I'm going to miss Sketch.  SoBo needs a good wine bar to balance out the more hipster centric beer and cocktail locations in the area.  With all the activity happening on the street, I'm sure someone with business acumen and ethics will snap up the spot once the foreclosure actually goes through.  Personally I'd love to see a resurrected Argyle in the spot.  

king.ariana
king.ariana

The only winner in this dog and pony show is Jesse's $attorney$- smart fella . . and Punch Bowl / Hornet. Too bad the city has to waste OUR resources and time -again- on this P.O.S. Loads of other businesses following the rules and doing just fine. It was over as soon as Jesse decided to hang his vendors out to dry- wrong town for that. Bye bye Jesse time to move far far away, plenty of other cities to run your game- you've done enough damage in Denver.

theglobalguy
theglobalguy

@sporobolus Not sure I agree with your accusation of bias, but would very much like to see the WW follow up with a posting of the judge's order, as well as comments from the city and Morreale.  


I still think this is just a stay of execution...can't see how running a business into bankruptcy is a sustainable model.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

@theglobalguy I think Robert Thompson has his hands full trying to make a go of Punch Bowl Social and Le Grande.  I doubt he's up for another Argyll at the moment but I sure could use a good Scotch Egg.

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