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Cincinnati officials to Mahogany's owner: No deal

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati administrators are not willing to cut a deal with the owner of a now closed restaurant at The Banks.  

Liz Rogers, through a weekend letter from her attorney, asked the city to forgive her $300,000 city loan and allow her to purchase the city funded restaurant equipment for $12,000.  In return she would re-open her Mahogany's restaurant at another city location within 120 days.  

City spokesman Rocky Merz provided the following e-mail on the issue Tuesday morning.

In a letter last week, the City expressed its position on this matter. Due to the potential for litigation, we have nothing further to add. We wish Ms. Rogers all the best in her future endeavors.

City Manager Harry Black wrote the issue was between Rogers and her landlord at The Banks, which found her in default for failing to pay rent and not being opened for business.  Black also wrote the city would likely not provide any further city grants or loans for restaurant ventures.

Rogers' attorney said if Rogers and the city did not reach a deal a lawsuit could be filed for a number of claims including defamation, breach of contract and discrimination.  The lawyer also said Roger could file bankruptcy.  

Mahogany's moved from Hamilton two years ago with the assistance of the city loan and a more than $600,000 grant.  

Her lawyer wrote in hindsight it is easy to see that Rogers was brought into a very bad deal.

Contrary to what she was promised, there is no theater on the Banks. Contrary to what she was promised, there is not hotel there. Contrary to what she was promised, there is no office building, and no foot traffic (apart from game days); in other words, the location lacks fundamentals need (sic) for success.

Liz Rogers also said during a press conference last week media coverage of her financial problems had shaken the confidence of customers, suppliers and potential investors.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.