This just emailed to me...
"An Update From Robert Lamoureux
A lot has happened at the Magic Castle in the last week and I wanted to bring everyone up to date with as much information as possible so that we can all be on the same page as we begin the New Year.
First, as many of you may have heard or seen, the food and beverage operations at the Castle are once again under our management and control. Effective January 1st, the waiters, bartenders, cooks, reservationists, events personnel all of the employees and managers at the Magic Castle are AMA employees and none are employees of Magic Food and Beverage. The four year contract between AMA and MFB terminated on December 31, 2008 and it was the decision of your Board of Directors, based on the recommendation of AMA management, not to renew or extend the MFB contract.
You may have noticed some changes already a new interim menu was introduced when the Castle opened for business on January 2nd which featured reduced prices on some items and heralded the return of Beef Wellington and a popular dessert, tirimasu. Also, when you order an entre, a dinner salad and garden vegetables are now included, with no need to order them a la carte and pay separately for them. Much of the new interim menu is the same as it has been over the last year, but there will be more changes coming.
You will undoubtedly notice that a lot of the faces are the same at the Castle. Many of the MFB employees had been AMA employees for many years before the MFB contract went into effect in 2005 and we were delighted to welcome them back to the AMA family. Many of the newer MFB employees asked to sign up with the AMA to continue to work at the Castle and most all who applied have been hired - you will see very few new faces, although there are some. Please join me in welcoming them all back. However some personnel changes were made and you will no longer see Andy Ulloa, Dave Williams, Alfred Mesa or Lesley Comfort, among others, working at the Castle.
You may also notice some changes in security at the Castle. MFBs security personnel, including Omar Puga, are no longer present at the Castle, or permitted on the premises. We have Jim Bentley to thank for handling our new security arrangements with a crew of off-duty LA County Sheriffs deputies and off-duty Los Angeles Police officers. These gentlemen may not be immediately noticeable they are all very fit, well-dressed, polite gentlemen who are recognizable only by the earbuds in their ears and the badges on their belts discreetly covered behind their jackets. Unfortunately, it was necessary to have a large contingent of our own security present at the Castle beginning in the very early hours of January 1st and they have been on duty 24/7 over the last week. They will continue to be present for the near term; hopefully our need for them will diminish as time passes and the transition is accepted by MFB. We all owe a great deal of thanks, also, to the on-duty LAPD officers and supervisory personnel of the LAPD Hollywood Station who were needed each day during the first few days to assist our own security personnel in preventing interference from Mr. Ulloa, Mr. Williams and MFB during the changeover. If you see any of these fine gentlemen in blue uniforms at the Castle over the next few days, be sure to give them a smile and wave they are there to help ensure that the Castle functions normally without any problems.
The logistical tasks were enormous as we transitioned to our own food and beverage operations beginning late on December 31st. We have Mark Felicetti, Dave Clement and many, many other AMA employees and volunteers to thank for working virtually around the clock for days to ensure that we were self-reliant and prepared to re-open on January 2nd and continue with normal operations at the Castle without any MFB personnel or equipment. We have purchased and installed new telephone equipment, new Posi-touch hardware and software, new reservations systems, new dining room chairs (which look the same as the MFB chairs), new safes, new computers and new furniture in the offices. All of the locks in the building were changed in the early morning hours of January 1st and MFB is no longer in any of the spaces which we had permitted them to use in the AMA offices on the third floor over the last four years.
There have, of course, been a few glitches over the last week as we switched over to new systems and hardware the new telephone system has needed some fine tuning, the reservation system needed breaking in and systems are being changed and refined as we move along. Please forgive the occasional hiccups as we move through the tasks necessary to switch over to our own systems, but know that everyone is working hard and long hours to make things better for our members and guests.
The transition has not been without legal controversy, of course. On the morning of Tuesday, January 6, 2009, Andy Ulloa and MFBs attorneys appeared in Department 86 of the L.A. County Superior Court to apply for a Temporary Restraining Order and OSC re Preliminary Injunction against the AMA. Mr. Ulloa and his attorneys requested that the Court issue an immediate restraining order prohibiting the AMA from: (1) continuing to conduct its own food and beverage operations at the Castle; (2) continuing to bar Andy Ulloa, Dave Williams and other MFB personnel from access to the Castle; (3) removing MFBs furniture, fixtures and equipment from the Castle; and (4) requiring that the AMA return the food and beverage operations to MFBs control. The AMAs General Counsel, George Juarez, filed written opposition papers and argued on behalf of the AMA at the hearing together with our Assistant Secretary, Maurice Newman. Im pleased to report that the Court turned down all of MFBs requests and refused to schedule any further injunctive relief proceedings, as requested by Mr. Ulloa. Copies of the relevant pleadings and a transcript of the hearing will be posted soon for anyone to review the details of the factual and legal arguments made by MFBs attorneys and George Juarez on AMAs behalf
There will undoubtedly be further legal proceedings as the AMA seeks to recover damages from MFB and MFB asserts its claims against the AMA; but these issues will be over money and not about control of the Castles operations. We are confident that at the end of these proceedings the AMA will be entitled to recover substantial damages against MFB, Mr. Ulloa and others.
Many have asked about the status of the sale of the Glover Family property and our lease negotiations. Unfortunately, there are conflicting reports at this point about what is happening with the property sale. We know that the sale of all 10 acres of the Glover family property, including the Magic Castle, Yamashiro, the Magic Castle Hotel and apartment properties, was in progress to a group lead by Sean MacPherson and was scheduled to close on December 31, 2008. As I have reported in the past, a negotiating team selected by the Board of Directors had been in discussions with Mr. MacPherson for some time and we had reached the basics of an agreement in principal for a new lease for the AMA on terms that would have been very satisfactory. The terms of the new lease included that AMA would once again be in charge of all operations at the Castle, including food and beverage operations. The details of the new lease were yet to be finalized pending the closing of the sale transaction.
The sale did not close on December 31, 2008 and we have had conflicting reports as to the reasons. It appears that disputes have arisen between Mr. MacPherson and his group as the buyers and Tom Glover and Andy Ulloa on behalf of the Glover Family as the sellers. We anticipate that litigation is likely in the next few days between the parties over the status of the sale, but the AMA will not be a part of that litigation. We have developed a very good relationship with Sean MacPherson and we anticipate that if, as he believes, the sale ultimately goes through, we will be able to quickly get back to finalizing a new lease for the AMA. In the meantime, we have a written agreement with Tom Glover on behalf of the Glover family that the AMA will remain at the Magic Castle on a month-to-month basis until the land sale issues are resolved.
There is much more to the story, but as we will be in litigation with MFB and Mr. Ulloa, and there will be litigation over the land sale, I cannot provide some of those details. But for now, the future of the AMA and the Castle is secure and we are thrilled to once again be able to coordinate all activities at the Castle under AMA control for the benefit of our members and guests. As further developments occur, Ill keep you updated!"