Posted: 10:04 am Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
Peter Thomas, Cynthia Bailey’s husband seen frequently on Bravo’s hit show “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is being accused of not paying all his bills at his Atlanta bar Bar One.
His landlord, Eloshua Elliott and Showtime Cafe, filed a complaint in Fulton County superior court saying Thomas owes more than $100,000. The charges: “defendant breached a lease agreement by failing to pay rent and other fees including late fees, bank charges, real estate property taxes and unpaid utilities.”
The lawsuit said Thomas hasn’t paid his rent of $10,000 a month since March, 2013 through the end of the year. (Late fees are another $5,000.)
Elliott also separately filed a complaint against Thomas’ entertainment group for the property across the street at 670 Memorial Drive which houses the Bailey Agency, Bailey’s modeling and talent company. There, he owes more than $29,000, the complaint said.
Peter Thomas, in an exclusive interview this afternoon, said the problem is his primary landlord Showtime Cafe for the Bar One property. (Elliott is partial land owner.) Prior to March, he said they had been taking his money for a year and not passing it on to the bank First Fidelity for the mortgage they owe. He said Showtime is in foreclosure proceedings. (Thomas’ attorney recommended he not release the names of the owners of Showtime.)
Starting last March, he started placing his rental payments in escrow with his attorney until Showtime straightened out its issues with its bank.
“I’ve been caught in the middle of the crossfire,” Thomas said. In reality, he has no problem financially paying his rent.
Believe me. I’m confused too by the situation. I’ve asked one of our investigative guys to dig up the foreclosure paperwork and see what the heck happened and who actually owns the properties.
Cynthia Bailey moved into the new property Industry Space at 670 Memorial Drive and the lease began in June, 2013, at a rate of $2,700 a month, according to the complaint related to that property.
Thomas said he is paying the bank directly for Industry Space and not Elliott. “I don’t owe them anything,” he said. He said the bank has no issue with him and he’s annoyed the landlord Elliott has tried to kick him out twice. He noted he spent more than $120,000 last year improving what had been an empty garage space.
In the Bar One filing, his lease ended Dec. 31, 2013 and has not been extended. He said he had a five-year option and the lease is set up so since he did not get a notice saying his lease is over, it was automatically extended. So he has remained and operates the bar normally in the interim.
His lease, signed in late 2010, has an escalated rent schedule that started at $2,500 a month in early 2011, jumped to $5,000 later in 2011, then $7,500 a month in 2012 and a whopping $10,000 a month last year.
Elliott’s attorney Dana Tucker Davis said she hopes to get a hearing soon so they can kick Thomas out for non-payment. She hopes to get a “For Lease” sign up soon on both properties.
Davis, who has represented Elliott since October, was aware that Thomas paid some back rent last summer but knows nothing about money in escrow. She also does not have any knowledge of him paying rent to directly to a bank for Industry Space.
She also said that they did send Thomas a letter about his lease on Bar One saying they were not renewing his lease at the end of 2013. She also denied any foreclosure and the properties are still under Elliott’s name.
At the time when Bailey showed up as a cast member of the show season three, Thomas ran a club in downtown off Courtland Street called Uptown Restaurant and Lounge but he had to shut down that business in 2010. (It’s now Harlem Nights Ultra Lounge.)
Before Bailey and Thomas got married, there was tension over money, with some of the other housewives wondering if he was using her money to help finance his failing business. Financial issues have popped up in small doses since then but nothing serious has erupted on the Bravo program.
Soon after Uptown went under, Thomas opened Bar One at 687 Memorial Drive. Both the bar and the Bailey Agency have been the site for many “Real Housewives”-related events.
In a blog entry on the Bravo site earlier this year, Bailey wrote this about her new space across the street where she moved her Bailey Agency:
The Bailey Agency School of Fashion has outgrown its original location, and we have moved to a larger one! I am super excited to introduce the world to Industry Studios, which is the new home to The Bailey Agency School of Fashion, Derek Blanks Photography, and Peter Thomas Entertainment. I love it! Industry Studios is the perfect space to grow into (it’s huge) and God willing I look forward to being there for many years.
Yes, you heard me right when I said Peter started renting the building (he did NOT buy it like I said he did, my mistake) 6 months before he told me about it. Initially I was annoyed that he did not consult with me first, but I now understand why he did not. The reason is simple: I would have shut the idea down. I don’t like to take risks or jump into things before I fully understand how they can benefit me or my situation. Peter started renting the space with the vision that one day it would be exactly what it is today, Industry Studios. The collaboration of TBA, Derek Blanks Photography, and Peter Thomas Entertainment is definitely a power move for all involved. Business has been booming, and we have only been at Industry for about 5 months. We have already had great talents such as Michelle Williams, Tyrese, Monica, Jaheim, Towanda Braxton, and many more walk through our doors for business! Also, The Cynthia Bailey Model Search and Miss Renaissance Pageant 2013 were huge successes this year. As for everything else that’s been going on, you guys will see in the weeks to come. Expect big things from Industry Studios and The Bailey Agency School of Fashion, because they are definitely coming!
About the Author
I'm the media writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ajc.com. I've been following radio since 2001, TV since 2005. I cover everything from the local radio and TV news scene to shows shot in Atlanta ("The Walking Dead," "Real Housewives of Atlanta") to networks based here (CNN, TBS, Up, Weather Channel) to celebrities who visit town.