Downtown Grand Wanted Hogs & Heifers Out So It Could Copy Idea, Court Hears

Posted on: May 11, 2021, 01:47h. 

Last updated on: May 11, 2021, 02:32h.

The owner of the Hogs & Heifers Saloon in downtown Las Vegas claimed in a Clark County courtroom Monday that the Downtown Grand had long schemed to sink her business because it wanted to copy the concept.

Hogs & Heifers
Hogs & Heifers Saloon owner Michelle Dell outside her bar on N. Third Street, a stone’s throw from Fremont Street. (Image: Hogs & Heifers)

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Michelle Dell testified that in 2012 she had the opportunity to view plans for the casino, which is her landlord and neighbor, prior to its opening a year later.

She said they included a design board for a bar called “Urban Cowboy,” which looked and sounded much like her own raunchy outlaw-country bar across the street.

Alarm bells went off for me,” Dell said, LVRJ reports. “It immediately said to me that they were looking to get rid of me, and they were planning on putting in a commercialized, teenage princess version of my establishment.”

Common Ground

Hogs & Heifers sued the Downtown Grand in 2019, accusing it of violating the lease agreement by refusing to give access to the common area in the street directly outside the two properties.

Since its launch in 2005, the bar has used the space for charity events and festivals, contributing to the cultural revitalization of the downtown area. But now it was being monopolized by the Downtown Grand for valet parking.

Dell’s lawsuit claims the casino is trying to illegally evict her and wants damages for lost revenues stemming from her inability to use the area.   

When Dell first signed the 20-year lease 16 years ago, her landlord across the street was the Lady Luck, which closed for extensive refurbishment a year later. A year after that, the property was sold to investment group CIM. It reopened in 2013 as the Downtown Grand.

Aggrieved Party

The casino has countersued Hogs & Heifers, arguing the lease stipulates the tenant must gain permission from the landlord to use the area. Hogs & Heifers’ failure to do so when it held a St. Patrick’s Day event in 2019 was a violation of the lease, it claims.

It also blames Hogs & Heifers for fights and other antisocial goings on in the area, describing itself as “truly the aggrieved party.”

“Instead of cooperating with Landlord and abiding by its Lease, H&H chooses to create a consistently unsafe environment that Landlord can no longer allow to continue,” the lawsuit claims.