Cincinnati sues Mahogany's owner for unpaid loans

Cincinnati sues Mahogany's owner for unpaid loans

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Local restaurateur Liz Rogers is now facing a lawsuit from the City of Cincinnati, tied to her restaurant Mahogany's which eventually closed at the Banks.

The City is suing Rogers for just under $110,000 for loans and fines that she hasn't paid back.

It took four months into a renegotiated taxpayer-backed loan deal for Liz and Trent Rogers to miss the first payment on the $100,000 loan, city loan records show.

In March 2015, the city manager's office approved a new loan agreement that forced taxpayers to pay off $874,000 of a $974,000 grant/loan deal given to the Rogers to open a soul food restaurant inside The Banks project.

The original deal, signed in 2012, handed the Rogers $674,000 in a grant to design and build Mahogany's. The city lent another $300,000 to the Rogers to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment. The 2012 agreement allowed the city to foreclose on the Rogers if they defaulted on the loan, but the city admitted to FOX19 NOW it never took action to collect those tax dollars after the loan fell several months behind in payments.

The original agreement also required the Rogers to repay the $674,000 grant for the project, added to the $300,000 secured loan, the agreement states.

The February 2016 payment was due Feb. 1, 2016, but the city's accounting shows that payment wasn't made until Feb. 16—15 days late. The city received no payment for March or April, records provided to FOX19 NOW show.

The city sent the Rogers two separate "demand letters" on the 10th of February and 10th of March, asking for the past due balance to be paid, plus a late fee. As of this report, the March and April 2016 payments have not been made.

Those letters made no mention of default, which is a legal course of action the city could take to take collateral the Rogers put up in case they did not uphold their terms of the agreement.

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