Judge grants restraining order; El Diablo and Sketch now open
Update, 7:05 p.m., January 11: Attorneys for Morreale Hotels LLC filed a motion today in Denver District Court, asking a judge for a temporary restraining order against the City of Denver that would allow El Diablo and Sketch to reopen. And after a hearing that started at 2 p.m. today and lasted for hours, the judge agreed to a ten-day TRO: Both Sketch and El Diablo will be open tonight, although serving limited menus.
Read the full legal motion -- and our earlier post -- below, and watch for updates.
Original post: Early on January 4, almost a week ago, the city again slapped the First Avenue Hotel with a notice to vacate, shutting down the circa 1906 building and the two restaurants located there, El Diablo and Sketch. The restaurants have been closed ever since.
On Monday, January 7, owner Jesse Morreale and his attorney filed an appeal with the city, asking for an emergency hearing -- which would have to be held within 72 hours of the filing. But so far, no hearing has been set.
"The attorney for 101 N. Broadway filed an appeal of the City's July 30 Order to Vacate, that Order was reposted on January 7," says assistant city attorney Scott Martinez. "We believe that due process is important and will continue to work with the business owner to solve this fairly and accurately. The City Attorney's Office will not be commenting further since we do not comment on ongoing proceedings."
As for that, Morreale says, "The City Attorney's representation of the basis upon which the appeal was filed is inaccurate, which comes as no surprise because inaccurate statements have the pattern with the City's statements surrounding the 101 Broadway dispute."
And his attorney, Jack Reutzel, elaborates: "The owner of 101 Broadway filed an appeal of the January 3, 2013 Order to Vacate. In addition to the appeal of the new Order to Vacate, the Owner has also appealed the CBO's decision regarding the studies and permit work submitted by the Owner that demonstrate full compliance with all City requirements as the owner was directed to do.
"The City Attorney's statement that they 'believe that due process is important' is disingenuous, because we believe that the code requires that within three days of an order by the CBO deeming a building unsafe that a hearing by the BOA is required if requested. Had the City honored City Code and Regulations themselves, then the owner's due process entitled them to a hearing by the Board no later than today, and as of now we still have not received even an overture as to the scheduling of a hearing, much less a hearing itself.
"As a result, in addition to the other harm the City has made the Owner and their employees suffer, every day of additional delay by the City causes further damage and violates the Owner's fundamental right to due process."
We have a request in with the Department of Community Planning and Development to find out if the request for a hearing will be granted. In the meantime, here's the appeal that Reutzel filed on Morreale's behalf:
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.