The Stampede Bar and Grill is no more.
On Sunday the business vacated the Olive Glenn Golf and Country Club, shut down by a state health inspector for roof leakage and plumbing issues. In addition, a test swab taken from the roof showed significant mold, creating an unsanitary food environment.
Laurie Swan, Stampede co-owner, said this was the final straw.
“There’s not much we can do,” she said.
As of Wednesday, some tables and chairs had been cleared from the Stampede space but no other changes were visible from outside locked doors. Inside the clubhouse, a pointed arrow and lettering reading “Stampede Bar and Grill” are still painted on doors leading to the restaurant space.
“The board does have plans to look into what we can do with the (restaurant space) in the very near future,” Kayl Mitchell, an Olive Glenn board member, said.
A leaky roof was only one of many obstacles the restaurant encountered since opening in November 2017, having recently faced a small kitchen fire and ongoing legal battle with its golf course landlord.
“They wouldn’t meet with us about our day-to-day operations,” Swan said. “We felt like sitting ducks.”
Swan said Olive Glenn is refusing to fix their roof, neglecting the landlord responsibilities dictated in their lease.
“Our lease said it’s their problem,” Swan said. “Rick Manchester (Olive Glenn board member) said it’s not something in the lease agreement.”
The golf course sent a notice of eviction through its lawyer to Laurie and her husband Steve Swan in April.
One potential issue still facing the golf course exists in the liquor license transferred to Stampede when the Swans started their business. Per the lease, the Stampede’s retail liquor license is to be returned to Olive Glenn now that the business has been evicted, but state laws are not so simple.
Wyoming state laws stipulate that when a business holding a liquor license decides to stop operating, its license can only be granted to another party with a transfer application.
Olive Glenn must apply for a transfer in order to regain the liquor license.
City attorney Scott Kolpitcke said a situation like this occurred in the past when Walmart attempted to receive a liquor license transfer from another business. That transfer was denied by Cody City Council and Walmart later claimed a liquor license outright.
The transfer application must be approved by city staff, city council, Mayor Matt Hall and the State Liquor Division. Kolpitcke said Olive Glenn has not yet applied for a transfer, but he has been told they soon plan to do so.
The Stampede, also known as Rockin U LLC, already applied to renew its license. Hall and the city council approved this renewal Tuesday. It is scheduled to take effect Aug. 1.
Kolpitcke said the liquor license renewal doesn’t necessarily preclude Olive Glenn from applying for the license transfer, as it does not need Stampede approval.
“Usually the previous owner will support the transfer but this is a little bit of an unusual situation,” Kolpitcke said. “It’s such a fluid situation.”
A public hearing would be held regarding this transfer.
Kolpitcke said if these two applications go head-to-head it will be up to the state and the city’s elected officials to decide which party the license will be granted to, based off a handful of loose criteria mandated by the State, including welfare to the public and need for liquor distribution in the applicant’s area. A public hearing would be held for this as well.
He also added that if and when the Stampede liquor license becomes officially terminated the law will likely favor Olive Glenn, and any document the Swans signed prior to the lease agreeing to return the liquor license upon lease termination, would also hurt its chances of retaining licensure.
Although the Swans may be physically gone from the property, their ongoing litigation with Olive Glenn is still very much alive.
“You can’t wrongfully evict us for unjust enrichment,” Swan said. “They don’t think the lease applies to them.”
The Swans filed a complaint in Park County District Court in December, demanding $300,000 from the club for allegedly infringing on their lease. The club then filed a counterclaim.
In April, Patrick Holscher of Schwartz, Bon Walker and Studer of Casper submitted a motion on behalf of the golf club for summary judgment in Park County District Court.
In a June 12 scheduling hearing, lawyers representing each party revealed they will enter into mediation this week. Retired Laramie County District Court Judge Jeffrey Donnell will serve as mediator.
If no solution can result from these negotiations, oral arguments for summary judgement will be heard July 22. Judge Bill Simpson said he will decide whether to make a summary judgment in September.
“If the mediation doesn’t work out that’s fine, if it does that’s great,” Simpson said. “Given the nature of this case we need a rapid resolution.”
If the case carries to trial, it will be heard in spring 2020.
Both parties said they plan to call multiple financial and business experts to the stand in support for their cases.
In May four new people joined the Olive Glenn board, Matt Wanner, David Klym, Dan Haman, and Dennis Graham. Terry Skinner is no longer board president, but still a member of the board. The new president is Tim Morrison.
“This is all about Terry’s personal vendetta with us,” Swan said.
There was no changes to Olive Glenn leadership after a board recall meeting held Monday.
“The vote itself wasn’t close,” Mitchell said.
Swan said it would have taken a total board removal for her and her husband, Steve Swan, to consider setting up shop at the golf course again.
“Getting a property management company to run the golf course would be a huge resolution,” she said.
About 190 people are now members at Olive Glenn. Olive Glenn bylaws state a board cannot be recalled unless 25 percent of the club’s total membership signs a petition.