Popular Restaurant May Close After Lease Dispute With Greenwood Chamber
TULSA, Oklahoma - A popular Greenwood restaurant is in danger of closing.
The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce gave Wanda J’s less than a month to sign a new lease with much higher rent.
Wanda J. opened her first restaurant in Greenwood years ago and her most recent location in 2016.
“They asked me to come back and we came back, and we’ve been faithfully paying our rent,” said Wanda J. “We’ve been going along with not having heat and not having air and stuff like that.”
But she says last month the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce dropped an unwelcome surprise on her.
“They come and throw a lease at me and almost tripled the rent and gave us from Friday to Monday morning to sign the lease,” she said.
Freeman Culver, president-elect of the Greenwood Chamber, says they are not trying to push them out of the community.
“They were in a subsidized program for the first two years where they didn’t have to pay their utilities. Now, that program is over and they have to pay their utilities and it’s just a large cost for them,” said Culver. “I wish them the best, but they don’t want to sign the lease.”
Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper says she is just concerned that the history and legacy of what Black Wall Street means in the historic Greenwood District is in jeopardy. She says the chamber has been totally silent and not shown up to community meetings.
“But then we hear about things like this happening and this is not the first business and not the first black business who has been pushed out, so we’re concerned,” she said.
“If these are business people, they need to treat me like a business person and discuss this with me,” said Wanda J.
As things stand now, Wanda J’s says they have an eviction notice for the end of September.