Tinhorn Flats Property Owner Launches Fundraiser to Pay Bills

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The owner of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill site is asking Burbank residents to help her pay for the costs of evicting the restaurant’s operator and overdue property taxes.
Isabelle Lepejian, who is also the former wife of Tinhorn Flats restaurateur Baret Lepejian, launched the online fundraiser recently on a GoFundMe page titled “Tin Horn Flats Left a Big Mess Behind!” On the page, Isabelle Lepejian said she aims to raise $35,000 for expenses associated with the controversial restaurant, which she evicted in June after a months-long feud between her ex-husband and government agencies.
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City Attorney Albano to Retire in November

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Amy Albano

Amy Albano, the city of Burbank’s lead attorney for the past decade and the first woman to hold that position, confirmed this week that she will retire in November.
Albano told the Leader in an interview that her last day as Burbank’s city attorney is Nov. 10. Since being hired to the role in October 2011, Albano has served as the top legal adviser to the City Council and, along with her staff, represented the municipality in court. The city has not made an announcement regarding Albano’s successor, who will be selected by the council (city attorney and city manager are the only two positions that the group appoints directly).
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Tinhorn Flats Property Owner Ponders Next Move

First published in the Sept. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The doors were open, but Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill remained closed for business.
Patrons once again stepped into the dusty, dimly lit bar on Wednesday, but they weren’t there to order drinks. Instead, they trickled in to collect the items on which they had bid: tables, refrigerators, ice machines and other equipment that had been listed for auction. Continue reading “Tinhorn Flats Property Owner Ponders Next Move”

Tinhorn Flats Evicted from Property

Photo courtesy Jesse Schoem | Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was evicted from the property by the restaurant owner’s former wife — the property owner — on Tuesday, the city of Burbank said.

Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill has been evicted from its site by the property owner — the restaurant owner’s former wife — according to Burbank officials. 

The city said in a news release that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department turned over possession of the building to the property owner, Isabelle Lepejian, today. The ex-wife of Tinhorn Flats owner Baret Lepejian, Isabelle filed an eviction notice against the controversial eatery in mid-May.

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Some Magnolia Park Residents Upset With Tinhorn Flats

Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A woman walking by Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill takes a picture of the restaurant, around which the city built a tall fence to prevent it from being operated until it regains the required permits.

Erik C. Andersen’s most recent visit to Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was in 2019, when his company rented out the restaurant for a mixer. But that event may have marked the last time he’d ever visit.
Tinhorn Flats has been open recently, of course. Its defiance of coronavirus public health orders prohibiting in-person dining, and continued operations despite losing its permits and fighting the city and county in court, have garnered the restaurant national fame. Supporters both local and outside of Burbank have rallied to the eatery’s defense, seeing the city’s efforts to close it as government overreach.

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Judge Confirms Ruling Barring Tinhorn Flats Operations

Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A pair of counter-protestors stands near Tinhorn Flats while police speak with the larger crowd of the restaurant’s supporters. Tensions between the two groups were high, and Burbank police later had the counter-protestors move to the opposite side of the street.

A county judge has ordered a preliminary injunction against Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill, issuing the tentative ruling he made two weeks ago.
The preliminary injunction legally replaces the temporary restraining order the city issued barring Tinhorn Flats from operating since March 8. The injunction, as Judge Mitchell Beckloff noted in his tentative ruling, doesn’t place any new requirements on the restaurant.
Beckloff issued a tentative ruling on March 26 but Tinhorn Flats’ attorneys requested two weeks to meet with the city’s representatives and seek a compromise. None was reached.
“[Tinhorn Flats parent company] Barfly suggests it will suffer grave or irreparable harm from the issuance of a preliminary injunction,” Beckloff wrote in his tentative ruling. “Barfly fails to offer any specific facts or evidence to substantiate its argument. In reality, any harm Barfly has suffered is related to the loss of its health permit and [conditional use permit] after administrative hearings.

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Son of Tinhorn Flats Owner Arrested After Removing Lock

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Lucas Lepejian, the 20-year-old son of longtime Tinhorn Flats owner Baret Lepejian, removes a latch city workers placed on the restaurant’s door on Wednesday. He was arrested Thursday evening on suspicion of violating a court order.

The 20-year-old son of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill owner was arrested Thursday night after removing a city-placed lock from the restaurant’s doors and welcoming patrons inside.
The arrest came just a day after Lucas Lepejian, son of owner Baret Lepejian, sawed off the latch to a crowd of cheering supporters. The restaurant, which has operated without its health and conditional use permits for weeks, was “red-tagged” — or declared unsafe and thereby not legally accessible — on Wednesday. On Thursday, Tinhorn Flats also reported it had removed boards the city had placed to block its doors.

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Court Delays Ruling in Tinhorn Flats Case

Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A handful of protestors demonstrated in front of City Council member Konstantine Anthony’s apartment on Thursday in opposition to the city’s unanimous vote to revoke Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill’s local permit. Anthony has been a frequent target of the restaurant’s supporters.

A judge gave a tentative ruling on Friday in favor of the city’s preliminary injunction against Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill, but the decision will not be finalized until April 9, allowing for the possibility of a settlement.
Tinhorn Flats has remained open for months since December, when its outdoor patio reopened in violation of state and county health orders. The practice resulted in the restaurant’s health and local permits being revoked, and now it faces lawsuits from the city of Burbank and Los Angeles County over the owner’s refusal to close the eatery.
A spokeswoman for the city said that the restaurant’s attorney requested the judge delay his decision because it is believed the two parties might settle their issues out of court. Though Burbank’s representatives argued against the delay, Beckloff continued the hearing to next month. Tinhorn Flats, still under a temporary restraining order, remains legally barred from operating.
County Judge Mitchell Beckloff’s tentative ruling said that Barfly, Inc., the parent company of Tinhorn Flats, “has submitted no evidence in support of its opposition. It has submitted argument only.”
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City Struggles to Rein In Tinhorn Flats

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Just hours after Burbank officials had locks installed on Tinhorn Flats’ doors, the restaurant broke the latch to one of them. The city later removed the locks to the front doors, saying they presented a safety hazard now that patrons were inside.

The Burbank City Council sued Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill for operating without a permit in February. The restaurant launched a GoFundMe to help afford legal fees. Last week, Burbank Water and Power cut power to the facility. Supporters brought generators. This week, the city padlocked the doors. The eatery cut the latch.
The ongoing feud between the city of Burbank and Tinhorn Flats has escalated recently, with the latter circumventing officials’ attempts to enforce local and county rulings made against the restaurant for defying health orders and operating without the required permits.

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City Sues Tinhorn Flats, Revokes Permit

Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was open on Tuesday, Feb. 23 — illegally — in light of a City Council decision the night before. But customers filed in all the same.

It wasn’t that they were unaware that the council had revoked the restaurant’s operational permit. Several mentioned it explicitly. Some seemed to see ordering a burger and beer as an act of rebellion against what they saw as government overreach: the issuance of restrictive health orders aimed to slow a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

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