Lefty O’Doul files for bankruptcy amid landlord legal troubles

Nick Bovis, the San Francisco restaurateur who was one of first co-conspirators named in federal indictment Earlier this year following an FBI investigation into corruption at SF City Hall, one such firm, longtime Lefty O’Doul’s Hofbrau, has now filed for bankruptcy.

As the Business Times ratings via Bovis’ bankruptcy attorney, the reason given for the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing of the sports bar/hofbrau most recently known as Lefty’s Baseball Buffet & Cafe is the city’s current health ordinance “prohibiting the self-service and buffet-style service in restaurants,” which forced Lefty’s to remain closed. But the place actually closed before pandemic shelter orders began, reportedly due to damage from a burst water main – which, as the Business Times reports , is partly the the subject of a trial in July provided by the owner of the building. Bovis allegedly stopped paying rent on the space months before the federal indictment dropped, dating back to November 2019 — incidentally around the same time Bovis closed its other neighboring business, the Gold Dust Lounge.

The two bars resided in separate spaces owned by the same owners, the Handlery family, around the corner from each other in Union Square. The Gold Dust Lounge was in a space that had probably been a bar since before Prohibition, which was converted into an entrance for new retail tenant Express amidst many media coverage early 2012. Bovis found him a new space near Fisherman’s Wharf in 2012, and again in 2017 another battle broke out with the Handlerys over Lefty O’Doul’s space lease, and questions about who owned all the baseball memorabilia inside.

Lefty’s Baseball Buffet & Cafe opened in the former Rainforest Cafe space, along with an adjoining Giants gear store, end of 2018, but it obviously lacked the worn, old-school charm of the original hofbrau with its daily selection of cut meats. And after about a year, as we learned from the July lawsuit, the landlord said he wasn’t getting rent.

Lefty’s Fisherman’s Wharf location, like the original location, was a bit of a hangout for City Hall folks, and it figured in some of the initial corruption allegations against Bovis and the former Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru.

Like us learned in februarythe city attorney’s office was investigating whether Nuru had ‘channelled’ alleged kickbacks and kickbacks from city contractors through Bovis and the restaurant – the contractors allegedly paid large sums for cover the cost of DPW holiday parties hosted by Lefty’s.

In May, Bovis entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, agreeing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

As The Business Times reports, the Chapter 7 filing shows $128,000 in assets and $260,789 in debt to 15 creditors, including an $80,000 bill to a Livermore catering company.

The earlier lawsuit filed by landlord Ronald Fong of the Fong Real Estate Co. sought $600,000 in damages for the water main burst and $221,393 in back rent. It is unclear whether the rent payments are included in the bankruptcy filing.

Related: Owner of Lefty O’Doul named in City Hall corruption probe reaches plea deal with feds

Photo: Andrew L./Yelp

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