The Three Legged Monkey is fighting back!
Last week the City of El Paso announced it was buying Hawkins Plaza and effectively forcing the Three Legged Monkey out. But owner Mike Armstrong has filed for bankruptcy protection and says he's not going anywhere.
By declaring bankruptcy, just as the owners of Hawkins Plaza did before selling the property to the City of El Paso for two and a half times the appraised value of the strip mall.
Armstrong said he will be able to remain in business for the time being and protect the jobs of his employees.
"Saturday, June 2nd, we filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11," said Sidney Diamond, the attorney for Three Legged Monkey owner Mike Armstrong, who called a news conference monday to announce his client has sought bankruptcy protection. "At this point the Three Legged Monkey reserves presence of its property and continues to operate its business. In short, we are open for business."
Armstrong vowed to stand and fight the City's takeover of Hawkins Plaza, which it purchased from Patriot Place Ltd., last week for nearly $3 million in an attempt to force out the Three Legged Monkey.
"I will protect my business and the jobs of my employees," Armstrong said. "I just want to go ahead and maintain my business and to protect the lease. Unfortunately, it seems filing bankruptcy is the only thing I can do to protect the jobs of my employees."
Diamond said the move will block the City of El Paso's takeover, although it's not known for how long.
"I'm not only thinking for myself, I have to think of the 30-somewhat people involved," Armstrong said.
Neighbors who have complained about the bar in the past were not willing to speak to ABC-7 about the bankruptcy and instead referred the station to their attorney, Robert Skipworth.
"That's news to me," Skipworth said. "I'm sure they're going to be disappointed if it takes longer to get the bar out of there."
As for the City of El Paso's reasons for forcing him out, Armstrong said: "We actually have reports and we have stats that actually show how much crime there is and where its related to particular establishments. So when I speak confidently of how safe my establishment is, I have the data to prove it."
ABC-7 asked the City of El Paso for comment on the matter, but has yet to hear back from anyone.