While a previous written statement on the front door of Harvey Milk's American Diner indicated it was closed for reorganization, that's not likely to happen.
One of the Hillcrest restaurant's three partners, Frank Lechner, refused to answer questions about future plans, possible bankruptcy, vendor and lease payments, or anything else.
The Harvey Milk Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Fort Lauderdale, had an agreement with the restaurant to pay a percentage of gross sales on a quarterly basis. Florida attorney Miriam Richter represents the foundation as counsel on Harvey Milk copyrights, trademarks, and the Milk family personality rights.
“The foundation had no control over the management or operation of the restaurant,” said Richter. “While the diner was to donate one percent of their sales to the foundation, they haven't done so. The total donations have been $7818.65, which has not covered our costs associated with this venture, resulting in a net loss for the foundation….
“So, we are disappointed and disturbed by the actions of the diner that bears his name. We are very concerned about the potential damage to Harvey Milk’s name.”
San Diego District 3 councilmember and council president Todd Gloria told the Reader: “I'm sorry to see Harvey Milk's American Diner close. Not only was it a bright and active eatery, the proprietors supported many community causes. I am not aware of plans for the site, and ask the property owners and any potential lessees to work closely with neighbors to ensure its future use is appropriate for the community.”
Lechner's last email to the Reader stated: “I will let you know just as soon as I have been given the green light to do interviews again.”
An email to partner Mike Phillips, who formerly worked as a bartender at Jimmy Carter's Mexican Cafe, brought no response.