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Little public comment from Council on Mahogany's deal

Jay Hanselman

Only two Cincinnati council members publicly commented Wednesday on the city manager's deal with former Mahogany's restaurant owner Liz Rogers.  

Rogers is getting part of her debt with the city forgiven and a monthly repayment plan for the rest.  She will repay $100,000 to the city.   She closed Mahogany’s at The Banks last August after the landlord found her in default on her lease.  

“While I’m not pleased with the resolution that the city came up with, at the very least I hope that we did our due diligence,” Flynn said.  “And we found that this was the best deal that the city could achieve to recover taxpayers money.”

Flynn recently asked the city to essentially "foreclose" on Rogers to collect the money.  But a council majority rejected his motion.

“I think we need to develop a process, that we hopefully all can agree too, as to how the administration should approach loans that are in default,” Flynn said.

Council Member Charlie Winburn was supportive of the plan.

“I am glad that Mahogany’s did not file bankruptcy which so many struggling businesses do these days, because we would have been left holding the entire financial bag,” Winburn said.  “Whatever money the taxpayers can get back out of this deal is better than zero.”

Winburn criticized former Mayor Mark Mallory and former City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. for bringing Rogers and Mahogany’s to Cincinnati.  He said those officials made promises they could not fulfill.

The city gave Rogers a $300,000 loan in 2012 to open Mahogany’s, and she was delinquent on her loan payments while the restaurant was operating.   Besides the loan, the city gave her a nearly $700,000 grant. 

Rogers closed her restaurant after her landlord found her in default on her lease.

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.