Nomad Operator Receives City Grant for Coffee Shop Despite Tax Debt

CEO Khai Intela
The operator of Nomad World Pub owes the City of Milwaukee $6,000 in overdue taxes. In an unexpected turn of events, a Milwaukee tavern operator, Michael Eitel, was set to receive a $750,000 city grant...

The operator of Nomad World Pub owes the City of Milwaukee $6,000 in overdue taxes. The operator of Nomad World Pub owes the City of Milwaukee $6,000 in overdue taxes.

In an unexpected turn of events, a Milwaukee tavern operator, Michael Eitel, was set to receive a $750,000 city grant for his new coffee shop, despite owing the city more than $6,000 in unpaid taxes. The news came to light during a recent Common Council committee meeting where the lease for the coffee shop was under review.

A Surprise Revelation

During the meeting, it was revealed that Eitel had a separate court battle with Turner Hall's owner, which led to his decision to drop plans for the Nomad Coffee Bar in downtown's new Vel R. Phillips Plaza. Eitel's company, Caravan Hospitality Group LLC, had been recommended by Mayor Cavalier Johnson's administration to operate the coffee shop through a lease agreement.

The lease, endorsed by the Redevelopment Authority, included a $750,000 grant for interior improvements and fixtures. However, the committee responsible for reviewing the lease decided to delay their decision after learning about Eitel's dispute with Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust Ltd., resulting in a $95,734 judgment against Eitel's Barcity Club LLC. This dispute raised concerns about the lack of a personal guaranty in the city's lease.

Unpaid Tax Debt Uncovered

To make matters more complicated, it was discovered that the City of Milwaukee has a $6,011 judgment against Caravan Hospitality for delinquent personal property taxes tied to Nomad World Pub. The judgment, which includes penalties and interest, stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the city against the company. It is worth noting that another company operated by Eitel had sold the Nomad pub building to a Chicago group in 2019.

Surprisingly, the Department of City Development (DCD) officials did not mention the tax debt during the committee meeting, raising questions about their due diligence process. Ald. Michael Murphy, the committee chair, expressed shock over the oversight. The DCD spokesperson, Jeff Fleming, admitted that the department would have done further research and discovered the court judgment before executing the lease agreement.

A Missed Opportunity

Although the lease required approval from the Common Council, it would not have been executed until Eitel paid off the judgment. However, Eitel decided to drop his plans, leading to the cancellation of the meeting to review the revised lease.

This turn of events has left the city considering other options for the building in the newly constructed Vel R. Phillips Plaza. With the deadline for the grant approval fast approaching, the city faces a time-sensitive decision.

Tax Troubles and Business Ventures

Apart from the tax debt owed to the City of Milwaukee, Caravan Hospitality has additional overdue taxes amounting to $12,680 owed to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. It is worth mentioning that the company has paid off nine other state tax warrants filed in the previous years. Eitel's other ventures, including SportClub and Barrel Burrito Co., are also under the umbrella of Caravan Hospitality.

While Eitel and his attorney discuss the best path forward to resolve the tax matter, the outcome remains uncertain. The city will need to weigh its options carefully as it moves forward with the development of the building in the Vel R. Phillips Plaza.

To stay updated on this story and other local news, follow Tom Daykin via email at [email protected] and on Instagram, X, and Facebook.

Image Source: saigonintela.vn

1