Robert L. Geltzer the Chapter 11 Trustee for MacMenamin's Grill has denied claims published in the Journal News that he had pledged to allow the restaurant to continue to operate "if Jimmy Rodriguez, the head of the restaurant group, could produce $150,000 by the next day."
Last week, Ricardo Oquendo, the lawyer representing Don Coqui Restaurant Group, claimed in an email to Geltzer
told Allan Drury of the Journal News that Geltzer had informed another Don Coqui lawyer that if Jimmy Rodriguez came up with $150,000 the same day, he would permit the restaurant to remain open for the coming weekend. Oquendo says he came up with the money the following day but Geltzer reneged on the deal. The email was made available to Allan Drury of the Journal News who reported on the exchange last week.
Peter A. Zisser of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, the law firm which represents Mr Geltzer absolutely denies Mr. Oquendo's characterization of discussions between Geltzer and representatives of Don Coqui Restaurant Group, telling Talk of the Sound:
...with respect to Mr. Oquendo's comments, at no time did the Trustee agree to keep the restaurant open in exchange for a cash payment from Mr. Rodriguez.
Zissner also expressed a concern that readers of our article, Hours After Receiving School District Checks and Invoices, Trustee Shuts Down Don Coqui, might have understood that Mr. Geltzer had closed the restaurant as a result of our discussions with him earlier that day and our sending to him a link to our earlier story which contained links to PDF scans of checks and invoices obtained by Talk of the Sound under a Freedom of Information Law request as well as a copy of the New York State auditors report.
Zisser told Talk of the Sound:
...the closing of the restaurant by Mr. Geltzer was totally unconnected to any alleged questionable dealings between and among Don Coqui Restaurant Group, the Debtor and the City School District of New Rochelle. As a chapter 11 trustee, Mr. Geltzer is charged with acting in the best interests of all creditors of the Debtor; he has no personal interest in the Debtor nor can he favor one creditor over another. In the exercise of his fiduciary duty, Mr. Geltzer's decision to close the restaurant was simple: Allowing the restaurant to remain open would have further reduced the funds held by the Trustee for the benefit of creditors without any chance that those funds would be replenished.
After further discussion with Zissner earlier today, Talk of the Sound agreed to send him our copies of the checks and invoices from the District's dealings with MacMenamin's Grill along with the New York State Comptroller's audit of the New Rochelle School District which first identified problems with the deal between the school system and the restaurant which we have now down. Generally, Zissner says the Trustee is interested in any documents that pertain to MacMenamin's Grill, Jimmy Rodriguez or the restaurant.