Woodstock expects to recoup over $250K in Public House settlement

City was downtown restaurant’s landlord before it shut down in March

Bars separate a dining room and the bar area of the remodeled Public House of Woodstock on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. The restaurant recently reopened after the newly remodeled Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House opened.

The city of Woodstock estimated it’s going to recoup about $258,000 in money and collateral from Katlo, Inc., the company that operated the now-shuttered Public House restaurant, officials said in a news release from the city of Woodstock Wednesday.

The announcement comes one week after the city council approved a Public House settlement that consists of a $75,000 repayment by Katlo to the city with 4% interest. The city expects interest to come out to just over $22,000 and the settlement includes roughly $161,000 of collateral in equipment and supplies. It provides “the City with a better financial outcome than it would have received had the restaurant transferred its lease or remained open for five years,” according to the release.

According to letters released through a Freedom of Information Act request, the city had asked Katlo in April to pay $345,000 in principal, interest and late fees.

However, according to the release, city staff recommended “a swift resolution” upon realizing Katlo “lacked sufficient assets to meet their financial obligations.” The city council asked city staff “to negotiate a settlement transferring control of the space back to the City while recovering as much repayment as possible,” according to the release.

The city was Public House’s landlord, as the city owns the Old Courthouse on Woodstock Square, where the restaurant was located for many years. Woodstock also provided Katlo with a revolving loan in 2022 to help it get through downtime from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the renovation of the building. That agreement called for the eventual forgiveness of $39,200 in outstanding rent and compensation of $350,000 during the closure. But the business had to remain open for five years to have the loan excused; instead, it abruptly closed its door at the end of March.

According to the news release about the new agreement with Katlo, it “aims to resolve all outstanding issues related to the Public House lease, the City’s revolving loan to Katlo, Inc., and [Public House owner Kathryn] Loprino’s personal guaranty.”

The settlement passed the city council with a 6-1 vote. City Councilmember Bob Seegers was the only “no” vote, saying he was looking at the settlement from the perspective of his own finances. Seegers voted no on the Katlo loan agreement in 2022 as well.

In the news release, Councilmember Natalie Ziemba said: “I am focused on moving forward to establish a viable, productive business that can sustain over time and be a benefit to taxpayers and the business community. Every day that restaurant space is closed it is causing a disruption to the surrounding businesses.”

The city is working with Patrick West of Century 21 New Heritage West, who according to the release “is well-equipped to manage this important task” to get a new restaurant in the Public House space. West confirmed to the Northwest Herald in May that he was the real estate agent for a Public House listing. The listing appeared to be offline Wednesday afternoon, and officials urged interested potential tenants to reach out to Danielle Gulli, Executive Director of Business Development at the city.

Mayor Mike Turner said in the release: “We aim to secure a high-quality restaurant as soon as possible, and initial interest has been strong. The vitality of the Courthouse and the Square is a top priority, and we are now well-positioned to move forward.”

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