in Houston, Texas
Taxpayers foot $970K bill for celebrity chef's smokehouse on Trinity River
Monday, Nov 28, 2011, 11:02AM CST
By Steve Miller
guest check

Local businesses in Fort Worth are chafing over a deal the city handed celebrity chef Tim Love, whose $970,000 restaurant was paid for by taxpayers, according to a weekend story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The money for the open air concession, set in a coveted spot near a Trinity River trailhead, was spent by the Trinity River Vision Authority, a water district.

Such bodies do not have to put out such projects for bid. Love’s Woodshed Smokehouse was simply selected as part of a profit-sharing arrangement, although the authority cited no figures.
The story quotes a local restaurateur:
“Gosh, I wish we had an opportunity to bid on this," said Shannon Wynne, CEO of Dallas-based 8.0 Management, which operates three Fort Worth restaurants, Flying Saucer, Flying Fish and the downtown open-air 8.0. "I had been looking up and down the river for a location like that for 18 months.
David Shaw, former president of the Tarrant Restaurant Association, said a number of other eatery owners would likewise have been interested if it had been made public.
 
J.D. Granger, the authority’s executive director, said a number of parties were interested, but did not name them.
 
The Star-Telegram obtained the lease deal between Love and the authority through an open records request.
 
The lease was examined by Stephen "Duffy" Oyster, a Dallas-based restaurant property owner with interests in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona.
 
“It was stupid on the water district's part not to bid it out because I think they could have gotten a lot more favorable lease," Oyster said.
 
Love has competed in Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters. The latter was exposed last month as being part of a pay-to-play scheme, extracting fees from cities in exchange for being used as a Top Chef location.
 
Earlier this month, Granger was derided for failing to show up at a forum at which he promised to explain the $900 million Trinity River Vision project.
 
Granger is the son of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who has been a supporter of the Trinity River development but has also been subject to nepotism accusations.
 
***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of dining bills by flickr user Chapendra, used via a Creative Commons license.
Comments
Harry Horton
Thursday, 12/01/2011 - 05:26PM

This smells like sewage to me. I can't believe our law makers let this pass, Who the hell is the

Trinity river vision authority? They don't need vision they need to be roasted themselves.

Bob Lukeman
Saturday, 12/03/2011 - 09:24AM

Thanks Harry... The TRVA is a non-profit (?) development Corp. set up under the Tarrant Regional Water District. In 2005, our State Rep. passed a law that set this entity up, giving it the power of eminent domain for economic development. They are proceeding with their "Vision" by taking over 100 properties and digging a by-pass channel to re-route the Trinity River. There is too much to relate here, so go to http://www.citizenswhocare.net for an overview of their plan and our alternative plan. This Woodshed restaurant is not even in the designated "Vision" area. Since the Water District controls and manages the lands along the river and lakes , it can now do pretty much what it wants to do with the hundreds of millions of dollars that it is pocketing from the Barnett Shale royalties that it earns from the public lands that it oversees. Instead of lowering water rates and using that money to insure our future water needs, as their charter USED to state, they are embarking on these "Vision" projects and picking winners and loosers using nepotism, cronyism, favoritism while being able to shield their actions from the public view through the use of obscure state laws passed to the benefit of water political subdivisions.

Thanks Texas Watchdog for putting this before some new eyes.

psheek
Sunday, 04/15/2012 - 07:22PM

So, what's being done about it other than griping?

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