Graham on Ellwood Thompson’s: “Maybe there will be a miracle”

The sign in the window at DCUSA, with the "opening" date covered in tape.

Update: Councilmember Graham called me again, after making a phone call of his own: “The Owner of DCUSA confirms they are in default four times, to the tune of a million dollars.”

Earlier today, I posted about Councilmember Jim Graham and Ellwood Thompson’s not being on the same page with regards to DCUSA; Graham just called me and he’s not backing down from what he told Lydia DePillis over at the City Paper.

Speaking of “not backing down”, I asked him to clarify this much blogged-about quote: “they’re going to pay for this very bad decision.”

He replied, “That is not the best language to describe it…the fact of the matter is, there are financial obligations that result from this kind of default. That’s the information I have from people at DCUSA. As recently as just the other day, they indicated they were going to pursue their legal options. We were lead on. All manner of agreements were signed. Now they have to abide by them. There are consequences to not doing that.”

But the owner of Ellwood Thompson’s, Richard Hood, told TBD that “I don’t know why Jim Graham is saying this. We are not in default. We continue to work with the landlord to make this happen”.

Graham responded: “That does not comport with the information that I have from DCUSA ownership. If they’re continuing to try and work it out then that’s fine, but I’m going on the information that I have. I have been very involved in this. I have asked continuously what’s going on.

“If Ellwood Thompson’s overcomes this, that’s fine, but if they don’t, I know others are being actively approached at this point, which would suggest to me that the deal is in default.”

I asked about the dream tenant which is mentioned in every relevant DCist and City Paper comment thread about DCUSA or groceries: Whole Foods. If the issue which prevented the sought-after store was parking, was there a way to work around that?

Graham said, “Parking is always an issue because I think there are some retail establishments who want dedicated parking and I don’t think we can supply that, that’s what DCUSA tells me. Fact of the matter is, there’s more than ample parking there.”

Back to Ellwood’s:

“This deal is at a very advanced stage…it’s gone beyond being completed, that’s why default provisions will come in to play and it will be very expensive for Ellwood Thompson’s. From what I understand he’s in default. These are people I’m in regular contact with, the owners of DCUSA…unless they’re making something up. This happened months ago by the way, the clear indication of this deal falling through goes back to August. But I’ll call them and maybe some miraculous rebirth will occur here, maybe there will be a miracle. But what they’ve done is very upsetting.”

As soon as Graham got off the phone with me, he called the owners of DCUSA to ask about Ellwood Thompson’s. He called me and said, “The Owners of DCUSA confirm they are in default four times, to the tune of a million dollars.”