UPDATE 3/14/12: New AZC editorial.
This morning I learned that downtown neighborhood defenders and small business advocates Bill and Debbie Crawford were served with a defamation lawsuit by Shawn Yari. Triyar Development is also listed as a plaintiff.
As you may know from extensive coverage in the Arizona Republic [and this editorial], Bill and Debbie own the award-winning Basic Training personal training facility next to Sunflower Market at Camelback and Miller. The Sunflower shopping center backs up to the “entertainment district.”
Bill and Debbie also live in the area. So, they’ve experienced first-hand the many “benefits” of the entertainment district both as residents and as small business owners.
Crawford has been outspoken about noise issues with the Yari-owned W Hotel that was threatened with foreclosure in 2009. Public safety issues, trespassing, and parking overflow from patrons of Yari-owned bar properties have spilled over into the Villa Monterey retirement community on the north side of Camelback, and Maya Condos east of Miller.
Yari also has a pending zoning request for “The Beach Club” (aka, “Scottsdale Retail Plaza“) in the same area. Neighbors have expressed concerns that this project will exacerbate existing problems originating from Triyar-owned properties.
In Yari’s complaint he alleges that Crawford,
…sought to destroy Triyar’s, its entities’, and Shawn’s reputations with a series of false and defamatory statements maliciously designed to injure plaintiffs and hurt Shawn personally…
…Crawford has falsely stated and/or inferred that Triyar, its entities, and Shawn have lied to Scottsdale representatives, bribed Scottsdale representatives, turned Scottsdale into a “sewer,” “hoodwinked” Scottsdale, engaged in “dirty tricks,” been a “purveyor of trash, noise, and bad behavior,” falsely represented that the W Hotel would be a high end hotel, improperly influenced others to foist an “unwanted agenda” on Scottsdale, caused injuries to others, etc.
The “counts” of the complaint include:
- False Light.
- Injurious Falsehood /Business Disparagement.
- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
Yari has not detailed any specific damage nor calculation of requested remedy in his complaint.
I will continue working on this story through the weekend. Mayor Lane has not yet returned my call. Neither has Council member Lisa Borowsky, who intervened on behalf of Yari with regard to the Blue Sky project that adjoins Yari property, and whose brother Todd owns Shotgun Betty’s bar in the area.
Lane’s campaign finance reports detail contributions from Yari and Yari associates. Lane has also recently pressed for an enhanced littering ordinance, a better public intoxication ordinance, and a “crackdown on public urination.” All of these stem from problems in the entertainment district, which Mayor Lane and the City Council created by too-numerous approvals of conditional use permits for bars in this small area. This has created the highest concentration of bars in the state.