Emails Contradict Tulsa City Councilor's Claims About Bar Lawsuit

Tuesday, October 25th 2016, 6:01 pm
By: News On 6

There are new details about what led to investors in a local bar filing a lawsuit against its owner.

An investigation with our partner The Frontier found unanswered audit requests and claims that the downtown bar went without insurance.

On October 13th, investors in The Max Retropub - owned by City Councilor Blake Ewing - filed a suit claiming fraud. They allege Ewing used more than $300,000 of their investments to funnel into his other downtown businesses.

10/13/2016 Related Story: Lawsuit Accuses Tulsa City Councilor Of Fraud

Ewing responded in a post on Facebook, saying he had been willing and available to work through the concerns but said, "They have refused to review the company's books or to meet to discuss [them]."

10/14/2016 Related Story: Tulsa City Councilor Posts Statement Regarding Recent Financial Issues

Investors in The Max Retropub provided us with emails that contradict that statement.

According to the emails, once they became concerned about financial issues, they gave Ewing a deadline to choose one of three options or a lawsuit would be filed; those options included third party audits.

10/13/2016 Related Story: Tulsa City Councilor Still Owes State Thousands

Board members say the deadline passed without an official agreement, so a final strategy was to offer Ewing options to buy them out at a particular price.

They claim he rejected them, so at 4 p.m. on the 13th they filed the lawsuit.

Documents also show insurance would be canceled on the Max on October 15th - something investors say only came to light because prior notices went unpaid; further saying, “Owning a bar without insurance should be of grave concern,” and that none of them wanted or expected to be in the position to file a lawsuit.

Ewing released a statement Tuesday saying:

"All of this is such a shame, not just for my family, but for our partners in the business. I will continue to pursue resolution in the matter and with the interests of all partners in mind. I remain confident in the public to see through exaggerated accusations and in our legal system to resolve the matter. Further, I stand by my previous statements, especially regarding the use of the local media as a tool for leverage."