Lawsuit Filed Against Dallas Restaurateur Bill McCrorey and Thomas McMurray of Rare Restaurant in The Shops at Park Lane

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Visionary Restaurant Group and Mastermind Construction are no longer operating out of this office.

Ever since I wrote The Saga Of Las Colinas Prime in June 2009, and several other reports detailing the shady shenanigans of restaurant operators Michael Costa and Bill McCrorey, I have been contacted by disgruntled employees, vendors, landlords, customers, and former partners.

Most recently, complaints and concerns about Bill McCrorey resurfaced after a deal he made for Blackfinn American Saloon went sour. Sadly, too many of the people who got shafted failed to do one thing before they jumped in: it’s called google (LMGTFY).

If I had a dollar for every time someone called me and said “I wished I’d googled Bill McCrorey’s name before I wrote him a check” I would be living in Tahiti with a closet full of pareus.

Instead, I report: Cade Mannetti, a former employee of McCrorey and his partner Thomas McMurray, currently operating Rare Restaurant and Lounge in the Shops at Park Lane, has filed a lawsuit to recover unpaid compensation and health care insurance. Here is a link to the petition. It’s a sad read.

The saga of Bill McCrorey is long. I’ve written a short version. If you make it through the tale,  I have several burning questions that need answers. Please chime in.

Let’s go.

Several weeks ago, I tried to reach Visionary Restaurant Group and the voice mailbox was full. I drove to their office, at Walnut Hill and Central, and found a lockout notice from landlord on the door. This morning, Rare’s name appeared on the TABC Credit Law Delinquent List for the second report in a row which means they have not legally been able to replenish their alcohol for at least a month. They celebrated their grand opening on July 20.

I just drove by Visionary Restaurant Group. The space is empty and there is a notice from the landlord on the door.

Bill McCrorey and his partner, Thomas McMurray, formed Mastermind Construction as the company behind the construction of Rare. A few months ago, I spoke with McMurray. He told me he personally put in $5 million on the project. Several of the subcontractors who worked for Mastermind have contacted me and complained that McCrorey is “giving them the runaround” on payment. The amounts are relatively small: they range from $6,000 to $10,000 each. However, one contractor told me he has six subcontractors and the collective total owed is close to $100,000. I told them to contact an attorney and let me know what happens.

On July 26, six days after the grand opening of Rare, I received a note from an employee. It said: “Did you write that article on dmag about the blackfinns closing? If so I’d like to talk to you about Rare”

For several days, he/she sent me information about what was going behind-the-scenes at Rare. He/she asked: “Keep my name anonymous.”  Here are some snippets:

 9/26: “The main financial investor who is no longer a partner is suing Bill and he is a friend of mine. I talked to him last week and am meeting with him and his lawyer next week. I’ll give you some details about what’s really going down next week.”

9/26: “I have people messaging me on Facebook from a furniture company saying we owe them $15k for over 6 months and when can they get their money…when the hostesses which I’m over and wait staff start bouncing payroll checks that’s when I get mad!And I’m working there basically pro bono.”

9/26: “TABC came in two weeks ago and wrote us up for not having the tabc permit out and they claimed it was off getting framed or some bs… I fully have the TABC ticket that the agents wrote up.”

I received close to 30 reports from this employee. On August 2, his/her story changed.

“I restored my friendship with Bill over the past 5 days. Prior to me working at Rare we were pretty close friends and he was just going through a lot of hardships with his divorce and the restaurant so I felt neglected and unappreciated. Bill really is a decent good hearted guy even though at times under stress he may come across as crass and impulsive. He is a devoted father and businessman and restaurants is basically a minority of his work yet he has a passion for it. Thanks for your time and I’m glad I found out the truth.”

My anonymous source is no longer at Rare. I tried to call Mastermind Construction, which lists the same address and phone number as Visionary Restaurant Group, and the number is disconnected. At 10:50 this morning I drove to the restaurant and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. I called the main number from the parking lot and nobody answered. I have now called the restaurant five times in the last hour. I finally left a message.

Here are my questions to landlords, potential investors, and contractors: How do people with a long list of lawsuits and histories of non-payment for services, writing hot checks, and screwing over employees and vendors continue to do business? Why does the TABC license businesses with these known serial scam artists as principals in the business? Why do landlords lease to them? Why do employees go to work for these people?

It really baffles me. They know how to work the scam. They keep the amounts owned to people low so they can’t afford to sue. If they do, they settle for pennies on the dollar.

Kudos to Cade Mannetti and any one else who steps forward and either files a lawsuit or calls the authorities. Anybody care to add a few words?

 

 

27 comments on “Lawsuit Filed Against Dallas Restaurateur Bill McCrorey and Thomas McMurray of Rare Restaurant in The Shops at Park Lane

  1. I think this was the same group that was supposed to remodel and take over the Addison Trulucks and open “Malt”. But I thought I read in the Mayor’s email updates, work stalled sometime in July or August?

  2. note: if a company has “mastermind” or “visionary” in their name, they likely aren’t.

  3. Seems like every episode of “Restaurant Impossible” is about an owner with no business experience, no cooking experience and no restaurant experience deciding to open or invest in a restaurant. I have no trouble believing that there are many out there praying on these types of people.

  4. I think us as restaurant goers also have a responsibility to stop giving our money to these (alleged) criminals. Stop frequenting their businesses.

  5. Michael Costa’s condo was foreclosed on due to non payment of his homeowners association dues.

  6. “How do people with a long list of lawsuits and histories of non-payment for services, writing hot checks, and screwing over employees and vendors continue to do business? ”
    When I read this, for some reason Avner came to mind.

  7. Ive worked for bill for six years now!! this poor guy gets so much heat for things that are out of his control!! the fact of the matter is that his past partners screwed him royally and his name has been on the note! a lot of these people coming forward have no idea what this guy has been threw. all I know is that Bill honestly tries to take care of everyone that works for him and I have never gone without a paycheck in the six years I have worked for him. These past employees that have come forward I know for a fact were stealing from Bill out of the tills and pocketing aboat load of cash!! the moral of the story people is DONT BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT U READ!! A lot of it is simply not true..

  8. Not condoning it, but I’m guessing they were “stealing” money out of the tills because their checks were bouncing….which is probably why it wasn’t reported and those employees weren’t fired on the spot. Bill must have the worst luck in the world to have partnered up with bad people every single time he has been involved with a restaurant….fool me once….

  9. THERE GOES THE COOP

    “Let’s open a restaurant,” said Weasel to Fox,
    “For only $5 million, you’ll get half the stock.
    A program, I have, for finding the perfect site
    Where vacant and hungry leads to a bite
    By Bre’r Snake, the landlord’s starved rep,
    Willing to risk owner’s allowances for prep
    Of the space, in trade for a big commission.
    And owner gets something in value received
    by having a “leased” sign on that lemon achieved
    A higher building value, so a CEO bonus?
    Win-win-win-win, an investment without onus!”

  10. Sorry, but I have also been involved with Bill and he is totally culpable. It amazes me that people will look at someone who is consistently involved in ventures where fraud is committed and debts aren’t paid and still continue to believe it was always beyond their control. How many times does he have to do the exact same thing before you wake up?

  11. Let’s try that cut and paste again. Sorry.

    THERE GOES THE COOP
    “Let’s open a restaurant,” said Weasel to Fox,
    “For only $5 million, you’ll get half the stock.
    A program, I have, for finding the perfect site
    Where vacant and hungry leads to a bite
    By Bre’r Snake, the landlord’s starved rep,
    Willing to risk owner’s allowances for prep
    Of the space. In trade for a big commission,
    Isn’t cash King? (Depends on the addition.)
    And owner gets something in value received.
    By having a “leased” sign on that lemon achieved
    A higher building value, so a CEO bonus?
    Win-win-win, an investment with no onus!”

    “Poetic Old Fart” – coming soon to self-publishing websites everywhere. Buy a copy. If you have $5 million, you could buy $2.5 million copies.

  12. Hey I have a business card from that Cade Mannetti guy it says Chief Financial Officer. Wouldn’t it be his fault if a check bounced or the business finances were all messed up? Weird for a CFO to sue when it looks like he was incompetent at his job.

  13. Love that Negative Nancy finds another gossip story for all of us. You should have your own show on TV. Really. It would be like the Jerry Springer of Dallas Restaurant scene! I would totally watch it to see how far you go to report “your truth” as you see it! Kudos Nancy! Keep up the good work.

  14. Shane you’ve known Bill for six months not six years and did you ever think that you would become such a sycophant that you would have to out right lie. Grow some balls and get your dignity back. If you have to lie to keep your job or look good to the boss then it’s not worth it. Everyone knows when you were hired by Bill and it wasn’t six years ago. Geez man how embarassing for you.

  15. Seems like just another Great Asshole in Great Dallas! No surprise! In North Korea Bill McCrorey get bum bum bang all day all night.

  16. Bill very creative names you pick to post comment. Ghetto comment widget no show ip? all same?

  17. Poor Bilbo Baggins make whiny American baby cry like a Billy Goat. So dishonor Bill. Sushi and Steak great combo like peanut butter and doo doo.

  18. I love how incestuous this comment section is. This article is a gem. Let’s link it up to as much social media as we can : -)

  19. Yup,

    I made the mistake of doing a lot of work at Rare…only to be shafted and have checks bounce twice. He then started paying cash and I made the mistake of buying a lot of building supplies on my corporate card. Now I have credit card company looking at me for $18K.

  20. The story of Mastermind Construction starts long before RARE. A couple of years ago Bill borrowed several million $’s to open a kids entertainment center in McKinney named Runamuck. Bill controlled the money through Mastermind Const so Runamuck closed soon after it opened and the poor investor was left holding the bag and may be forced into bankruptcy. Indictments to follow. You have also failed to include the failure of Stoney’s on Stone St in downtown Dallas.

  21. I worked with Bill personally when the original “run amuk” was called “The Zone Mckinney”. He’s shady, low paying, finds anyway to cut corners at the expense of the business. I managed the pizza restaurant for half a year and when I didn’t get paid for over $1,000 in a months worth of bounced checks. I cold quit here are your keys style. I will never work with or for him again. He better hope I never see him in a dark alley.