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Old 02-25-2008, 10:48 AM
Status: ""I'll take it or die!"" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
8,956 posts, read 6,831,182 times
Reputation: 3982

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See the E-mail they sent out below:




The Satisfied Frog 1982-2008

Greetings!

Maria and I are writing this letter to Say Adios. Not Goodbye just so long- read on


THE FROG IS PIRATED FROM US
For 25 years our labor of love has been The Satisfied Frog. We created it, nursed it, caressed it and finally lost it. How did this happen?

I don't want to bore you with a lot of details but over the last few years we have been paying off a massive IRS payroll tax debt that started with a former manager back in 1998. Like most IRS debts it started out relatively small. I contacted one of those, " Never Meet with the IRS companies," Big mistake. By the time they got around to doing anything about resolving the issue the penalties and interest were over $300,000.00 and that is a big hit for a restaurant to take. I was able to make a deal with them and we had paid it down to $67.000.00. This was all out of cash flow from the restaurant.

Since the 9/11 tragedy our restaurant business, in Cave Creek, never rebounded to 1998-99 levels. We stayed steady for the last few years but this last summer was very slow- recession- heat- who knows? Weekends were good but on the weekdays we actually lost money. Maria and I borrowed, mortgaged and did what ever we had to do to keep the doors open and 70 people employed.

Over the past few years, on some months, we were not able to pay our lease payment to our landlord in full. They were not happy but allowed us to get behind on the payments. We were the lead tenant and when we opened in 1982 we were the only store in Frontier Town.

All the other tenants and stores came in because we were drawing the crowds. This allowed the landlord to charge exorbitant rents for run down stores. Over the past 25 years the landlords, Julian Peagler, Beverly Peagler and their son Marc Peagler have barely kept Frontier Town nailed together and collected millions from tenants.

The result of getting behind in the lease payments was a substantial amount owed to Frontier and the Peaglers. Remember they allowed us to pay partial rent payments weekly and accepted those payments saying or doing nothing else.

On Friday February 15th at 2:00 PM, Maria was having lunch at the restaurant and she was approached by Marc Peagler. He asked her to step outside where she found His Mother Beverly, The Father Julian and two Sheriff's Deputies. They handed her a piece of paper that basically said, " You owe us back rent and we are taking possession of the premises and you have 5 minutes to gather your personal things and get out. If you don't we will escort you off the property with the Sheriff's deputies.

At that time they took over the restaurant- using all of our cash in cash drawers, inventory of food and liquor, that we paid for, and our utilities. They told our help that they were welcome to stay and they would be working for a new entity known as " The Satisfied Frog LLC". It is obvious that this was planned in advance.

THIS WAS ALL WITH NO PRIOR NOTICE OR WARNINGS as called for in our lease. They also claimed use of the name because I forgot to register it in 1998 with the State of Arizona. Ok, so that means if Home depot forgets to register in Arizona I can go out and open up a Home Depot store. I don't think so. Maria and I own that name and have been using it for 25 years-

Did we own the landlord money? Yes
Were they accepting partial payments? Yes
Was the restaurant up and running and paying it's current bills? Yes
Were we employing 70 employees most of them long time? Yes

Will they be able to keep up the quality and the uniqueness of The Satisfied Frog? NO
The Frog is Maria and I and our family of employees. They have already closed the gift shop and stopped selling Chili Beer. They are firing long time employees. Watch what happens to food quality and service. No one wants to work for a JERK and believe me a Jerk has taken over.

So now that you have our side of the story - what are we going to do? Well of course there is legal recourse and the IRS, who has liens on everything, will have a say so in how this all shakes out.

Maria and I although somewhat BROKE still have another business, Chili Beer, that we will pursue.

In closing We would sincerely like to thank the millions of loyal customers who have visited us over the last 25 years. The Frog as we know it is no more. But the spirit lives on in our hearts and you know Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was 70. I am 70 and have a lot of fruitful years ahead of me-

With all our love and best wishes to all of you.

Ed and Maria Chilleen
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:09 AM
 
125 posts, read 383,986 times
Reputation: 45
That sucks, we were there over 10 years ago.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Centennial, CO
12 posts, read 61,407 times
Reputation: 14
OMG! We are moving to Colorado in a month and we had planned one last outting to the Frog before we left. I am just speechless.

My heart goes out to Maria and Ed. I just cannot imagine having a part of your soul ripped from you so maliciously. I wish them all the best. They are great people and I see them coming out of this much stronger.
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:07 AM
 
1,481 posts, read 1,652,874 times
Reputation: 328
Well, I feel for the owners on a human level...and think the chili beer might work if marketed correctly...but they ran that business into the ditch and the food was poor.

Is the new owner a jerk? Maybe. Hope the food is good and he is a better business person...then that restaurant may survive. They have a great location...but I've seen other businesses in Cave Creek go under due to bad food.

I still can't believe the Horny Toad is still open. Really pathetic food and big dust balls hanging from the walls. Oh, and speaking of bad food and dust balls, Harold's is doing bang up business.

Cave Creek is an odd little town. But I do believe the owners of the SF dug their own grave.
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Old 11-28-2008, 04:08 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
2,341 posts, read 1,833,285 times
Reputation: 437
I'm not a lawyer but, the way I've always understood it, when the sheriff shows up like that and gives you 5 minutes to gather up your stuff and leave, it's because the landlord has already served you with an eviction notice (usually a few months earlier) so, that it can be disputed or settled in court. If no one shows up at court, the landlord wins by default and that's when the sheriff comes out to the property to evict any one on it and secure it (put a lock on it) for the owner (the landlord). I'm pretty sure you needed to be served an eviction notice by a process server or least one of your employees had to have been and didn't tell you about it....is that possible? It may be different in Arizona but, my family is from NJ and have had to do an eviction on some commercial property they owned there and that's the way it had to be done.
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Old 11-28-2008, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
37,079 posts, read 39,930,212 times
Reputation: 98811
Even though we were a customer of the Frog, and enjoyed it and feel sorry they are losing it, it all comes down to bad business management. And the letter shows several, especially trademarking which is so simple to do. Two things are guaranteed in life, death and taxes, and they should've known about taking care of the IRS immediately and not screwing around.
BTW, this is an old story, it was reported in the newspapers and TV about this situation months ago. So the owners had more time to get things together than they are reporting.
Here is just one of those stories from a March 2008 news story on SF. Eviction has Crazy Ed's Satisfied Frog owner hopping mad in Cave Creek - Phoenix Business Journal:
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,045 posts, read 23,714,969 times
Reputation: 9619
I agree with both of you, Danno and Nitram.

When I initially read the article I became very suspicious. Why, after so many years, had they never addressed and satisfied their Payroll Tax Debt with the IRS? Also, if they were aware of the taxes, why were they trying to beat the IRS by hiring some sleazy ambulance chasing law firm?

Anyone involved in a business knows that Payroll Taxes MUST be paid and their convenient omission is nothing short of FRAUD. Also, this is a big alert they may have been knowingly involved with employing illegals.
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:40 PM
Sco
 
4,259 posts, read 3,719,605 times
Reputation: 3339
I have little sympathy for people that don't pay their payroll taxes. Payroll tax liability consists mostly of money that was taken from the employees paychecks. When a business owner fails to pay payroll taxes, they have basically decided to steal that money from the employees and use it for their own purposes. They got what they deserved IMHO.
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:16 PM
 
1,462 posts, read 3,762,999 times
Reputation: 998
The guy lost me when he mentioned 9/11. I am sorry. You are 2500 miles away from Lower Manhattan and the Pentagon. That is INEXCUSABLE to use 9/11 as a freaking excuse. Tourism took a hit right after 9/11 but it corrected itself about a year after.
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Old 11-29-2008, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,045 posts, read 23,714,969 times
Reputation: 9619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sco View Post
I have little sympathy for people that don't pay their payroll taxes. Payroll tax liability consists mostly of money that was taken from the employees paychecks. When a business owner fails to pay payroll taxes, they have basically decided to steal that money from the employees and use it for their own purposes. They got what they deserved IMHO.
I could not agree more, Sco!

Nothing but Common Thieves who GOT CAUGHT by the IRS.
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