Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

Ritz Ybor says it's unaffected by bankruptcy filing of previous operator

Music fans in Ybor City need not worry about the future of the Ritz Ybor.

A company called the Ritz Ybor LLC filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation Aug. 22, stating it had $90 in the bank but more than $600,000 in debts. But according to the club and concert venue's current owner, the filing has nothing to do with current business at the Ritz.

"One hundred percent, no, this has nothing to do with my operations, or any of my corporations," said John Santoro, who took over the club last summer. "The property owner's great, I'm great, we have a long-term lease. This must be the operating company that was in there before me. So nothing to do with me, nothing to do with the property."

The filing indicated the Ritz Ybor LLC collected $1.3 million in revenues in the first half of 2016, before Santoro's company took over the club. But the filing states it owes $126,000 in unpaid rent to landlord NCJ Investments Co., whose officers and directors include members of the Capitano family, a prominent real estate group in Ybor City.

Joseph Capitano Jr. owns the historic building that houses the club at 1503 E Seventh Ave. He is listed as the primary agent of the Ritz Ybor LLC, which state records show was launched in 2013 and dissolved in April 2017.

At the moment, Santoro said, all planned concerts and events at the Ritz are good to go, starting with a concert by Manchester Orchestra tonight.

"It will not affect any shows," he said. "Zero, zero, zero, anything at all."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

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