Lansing Mall wins $6 million lawsuit against Toby Keith bar developers


LANSING, MI (WLNS) – There’s an update to a story 6 News has been following for more than a year.

CRGE and Boomtown Entertinament used a famous country star’s name and promised to build a huge restaurant at the Lansing Mall.

Instead, they lost a lawsuit and are out $6 million.

That’s how much a federal judge says developers owe the Lansing Mall after plans to build Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar” went bust.

6 News Haley Herzog tells us what happened.

Lots of people love country music sensation Toby Keith.

And lots of people loved the idea of “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar” right here at the Lansing Mall.

That was back in December 2013. But today, it’s a “Tequila Cowboy” instead.

“They originally, they had, I Love This Bar, were going to come in. Something happened, where it didn’t come to fruition,” said Ken Whitinger, president, Delta Township Business Association.

The companies behind the bar CRGE Lansing and Boomtown Entertainment started building, but never finished it.

So the Lansing Mall took them to court. They wanted money they had loaned the developers plus the money they should have made in rent.

Turns out, the developers never showed up, so a judge found in favor of the mall.

All construction ended in 2015 and the Lansing Mall filed a lawsuit in federal court against both companies to be paid back for the money never paid to the contractors and the rent the mall never received from Boomtown.

When Lansing Mall’s attorneys showed up for the court date the defendants had no one there to represent them and the judge granted in favor of Lansing Mall making CRGE liable for close to $4 million and CRGE and Boomtown jointly liable for $2 million.

The space has since been bought by Tequila Cowboy and opened back in November of 2015 giving the Lansing Mall the business they were hoping for.

Back in 2012 Whitinger says the new restaurant has started to draw people in from across the state for the concerts, replacing the original need for the Toby Keith restaurant.

As we said, the developers never responded to the lawsuit and they didn’t get back in touch with 6 News Tuesday when we tried to get their side of the story, either.

While Toby Keith licensed his name to the developers, he doesn’t have anything else to do with the restaurant/bar.

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