The latest thing to come out at Shotgun Willie?
The Glendale Strip Club pulled out of the Chapter 11 process over the summer, eight months after filing.
Shotgun Willie’s did not come out of bankruptcy in the traditional sense, with a reorganization plan in place. On the contrary, the club at 490 S. Colorado Blvd. asked a judge to close the case in mid-July, saying he no longer wanted the protections offered by the bankruptcy process.
“With the rollout of effective vaccines, the lifting of occupation restrictions, and guidelines for masks and social distancing, Debtor’s business has stabilized and his failure now appears less likely,” the club wrote in a filing Judicial July 16.
Shotgun Willie’s – majority owner Deborah Dunafon, wife of the mayor of Glendale – attributed the initial filing in November to pandemic trade restrictions, saying “the action has given us the only chance to survive in this uncertain climate.”
The club was closed for more than two months in the spring of 2020, and again for 44 days last November. It closed for an additional six days in April “following a COVID outbreak among many employees,” according to the file.
And Shotgun Willie’s isn’t the kind of place that could just go take out.
“The debtor had no other business opportunity that more traditional restaurants could avail themselves of,” the club wrote in the July filing.
In calling for the bankruptcy case to be dismissed, however, the club noted that Gov. Jared Polis lifted virtually all remaining pandemic restrictions on bars and restaurants in early July.
Stephen Long of GSL Trial Lawyers, an attorney representing the club, told BusinessDen that business at Shotgun Willie has been “good” recently.
“While there is still a significant risk of substantial closures, we have more hope than we have been in the past that can be avoided,” he said.
The pandemic, however, is only part of what was discussed during the bankruptcy proceedings.
In its November filing, Shotgun Willie’s said it faces six lawsuits, including one from family members of Randall Wright, a Kroger real estate executive who died following an altercation at Shotgun Willie’s in 2019. Family members argued earlier this year that the case was “an attempt to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to limit debtor liability.”
But Shotgun Willie’s wrote in the July 16 filing that the Wright family’s lawsuit “was not a critical factor” in the decision to file for bankruptcy, and that the club could “withstand” the litigation without the protections offered by the bankruptcy process. The club have said they will likely spend six figures to defend themselves against the Wright family’s claims in the bankruptcy case.
“Therefore, bankruptcy protection is no longer desirable,” the club wrote. “Staying in Chapter 11 can be a barrier to the future profitability of the business due to the general administrative costs of Chapter 11.”
Lawyer Long said four of the other lawsuits disclosed by the club last November have since been resolved, which has also been a factor in the demand for dismissal.
Shotgun Willie’s wasn’t the only local strip club to experience drama in the past 18 months.
The Adams County Stripper Club sued state and local health departments in July 2020 after being told to keep strippers 25 feet away from customers , writing in his trial that “eroticism requires less distance”. The two sides finally agreed on alternative measures to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
In related news, five Denver strip clubs, including the downtown Diamond Cabaret, have a new owner in an $ 88 million deal involving Troy Lowrie and Houston-based RCI Hospitality Holdings. .