Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump might come off like a poor man’s Joan Collins, but that doesn’t mean all the gays lover her: Two L.A. developers are filing suit against Vanderpump for putting the kibosh on their plans to open a gay bar on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Former Abbey staffers Ryan Carillo and Andrew Gruver had dreams of turning the former Java Detour into Bar Varsity, a gay sports bar and restaurant, and worked out a deal with property owner Elie Samaha, who promised to invest $500,000 in the project.
But, they allege, Samaha got greedy and jumped at a lucrative offer Vanderpump and husband Ken Todd later made to open a bar called P.U.M.P. on the same spot. Gruver and Carillo maintain Vanderpump and Todd knowingly “intended to disrupt the performance of the [existing] agreement.”
Not true, says the [sur]Real Housewife: “We had no prior knowledge of Ryan Carillo and Andrew Gruver or their claim,” Vanderpump told RadarOnline. “We took the lease in good faith seven months ago and all of our applications and notices have been posted publicly. Any issue will be between them and the property owner.”
Those claims of innocence are “false and misleading,” maintains Carrillo and Gruver’s lawyer, Joe Adams. “The underlying fact is that Ms. Vanderpump has had extensive ‘prior knowledge’ of Mr. Carillo and Mr. Gruver.”
Gruver hosted events at Vanderpump’s restaurant, Sur, and even has photos of them together on the red carpet at the White Party in Palm Springs.
Carrillo and Gruver quit their jobs as general manager and promoter at the Abbey to work on Bar Varsity, and spent thousands of hours getting permits, meeting with architects and otherwise pushing ahead with the plan. They’re asking for millions in damages and an emergency injunction preventing P.U.M.P., or any other business, from opening up in the location.
Seems to us there’s an easy solution: Open P.U.M.P, but make it a gay bar—we’re pretty much the target demographic for a place run by a Bravo celebrity anyway. And the name sells itself.