CINCINNATI - The owner of a Hamilton restaurant who received almost a million dollars from the city of Cincinnati is speaking out after she turned herself in Tuesday on a year-old warrant.
Elizabeth A. Rogers, also known as Liz Rogers, surrendered at the Butler County Jail around noon on a previous warrant for failing to pay a judgment to a graphic design company. She was processed through the system, including having a mug shot taken. She was then released with no bond posted.
Just last week, Rogers received a grant and loan package from the city of Cincinnati to open a second Mahogany's restaurant in the downtown Cincinnati Banks Project. Her first restaurant is located in Hamilton. The city defended the unprecedented financial package saying it was necessary to open the development to be more diverse and inclusive.
After the package originally came to light, the I-Team uncovered various loans and debts Rogers still owed in Butler and Hamilton counties. One of those cases led to the arrest warrant issued in March 2011 for which Rogers turned herself in Tuesday. In that case, a judge ruled that Rogers owes $3,000 to a graphic design company called Queen City Computer Press.
Wednesday morning, Rogers released a statement about turning herself in and its relation to Rogers' previous business, Brooklyn Spa of Forest Park, which closed in 2008.
"The legal proceeding stemmed from a dispute regarding the quality of service that Queen City Computer provided Brooklyn Spa. These proceedings were in no way related to Mahogany's or the collateral provided to the City by Mahogany's," Rogers said in the release. "When I became aware of the unresolved issue in Butler County over the weekend, I worked with Butler County Sheriff's Department to initiate the legal steps to resolve the matter."
Also, Rogers said in the statement that the city of Cincinnati knew about her past.
"These issues were disclosed along with all relevant credit information over the twelve month period during which I pursued this project with the City of Cincinnati," Rogers said in the release. "I have worked diligently as a partner with the City Administration to conduct a full and complete assessment of my business history and ability to expand my business into Cincinnati at the Banks."
The president and CEO of the company says he has only good wishes for the new eatery.
"I hope the restaurant does well. I hope the taxpayers don't suffer," said Bob Welch. "I do want to get paid. We have a judgment against her."
Read Rogers' full statement below:
Since 2010, I have operated a successful, growing business in the City of Hamilton in Butler County and am looking forward to expanding that business in Hamilton County.
Recent media accounts have reported on my actions today regarding my proactive approach as a responsible business owner to address an alleged obligation related to my previous business, Brooklyn Spa of Forest Park, which is not attached or connected to Mahogany's. Brooklyn Spa is no longer in operation and has not been in operation since 2008. The legal proceeding stemmed from a dispute regarding the quality of the services that Queen City Computer provided to Brooklyn Spa. These procee.dings were in no way related to Mahogany's or the collateral provided to the City by Mahogany's. When I became aware of the unresolved issue in Butler County over the weekend, I worked with the Butler County Sherriff's Department to initiate the legal steps to resolve the matter. Although there may be no merit to the case, at the time of this statement, the total amount in question has been posted with the Butler County Sheriff's Department, and any other related procedural matters will be addressed accordingly.
This is not a new issue and neither is the information that is being reported in the media. These issues were disclosed along with all relevant credit information over the twelve month period during which I pursued this project with the City of Cincinnati. I have worked diligently as a partner with the City Administration to conduct a full and complete assessment of my business history and ability to expand my business into Cincinnati at the Banks.
My grant and loan package were vetted by the City Administration and approved by the majority of Council. Since the approval, it appears that I have become the subject of a heightened level of scrutiny and several unfavorable media reports pertaining to my business and my character. I am unclear as to why and would like to once again put these issues to rest. Despite the events of the past couple of weeks, I remain excited about the possibility of bringing new jobs to the City of Cincinnati as I have done in Hamilton.
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38-time Emmy winner Brendan Keefe was named Best Reporter by the Ohio Associated Press in 2011, and Best Photographer in 2012 and 2013. He serves as Anchor and Chief Investigator for 9 On Your Side.
Jason Law joined 9 On Your Side in January 2013 as a investigative reporter with the I-Team.