By Fred L. Jones, Jr.
Eagle Staff Writer
Here we go again…another African American owned business being dismissed by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce over an apparent contractual discrepancy. With an occupancy of less than 60 percent it would seem as if the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce would attempt to work out any differences with tenants to insure a continual cash flow and visual presentation of business that are still attached to the Tulsa north community and Black Wall Street.
Wada Js gives you that and more, a Black-owned family business that has been established in the community for over 40 years with an excellent repour with the community and civic leaders. A business that employs Wands Js son, Ty Walker his wife Chisshon and their five daughters Tyreiha, Tykiaha, Glory, Alexus and A’tyha.
On any given day you will find a host of community and civic leaders enjoying the food and fellowship of Wanda Js Next Generation Restaurant. So, it leaves you to ask why does the current Greenwood Chamber of Commerce want them out?
We understand diversity and inclusion that’s a given, but we also know that if the powers that be continuing to remove and erase our history then raise rental prices and continue to move in other outside businesses the community will label it as “Gentrification”.
Is Wanda Js the next victim of the “Gentrification of Black Wall Street”?
The Greenwood Chamber released a press release which was replied to by Wanda Js owner Ty Walker. They are both listed below.
From the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce: September 8th, 2018
It is unfortunate that Wanda J’s Next Generation did not sign the 2018-2019 lease. Since fall 2016, Wanda J’s Next Generation Restaurant began operating under a Subsidizes Program for Afric.an Americ.an Entrepreneurs. Under this subsidizes program all utilities were paid for by the Greenwood Centre. LTD operated by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.
After being subsidized for 2 years and researching the cost of utilities for “Wanda J’s” Next Generation”, The. Greenwood Centre LTD in Ju ne 2018 delivered a lease to the owner. (after researching their tile, we discovered Wanda J’s Next Generation had never signed the 2016 nor the 2017 lease, and therefore was operating month to month).
Consequently, the Greenwood Centre. LTD presented \Vanda J ‘s Next Generation with a 2018-2019 lease which included the utilities. The lease was never returned sign and returned, and Wanda J ‘s Next Generation continued to pay the 2016 subsidize rent price. We received no responses after mailing and delivering several notices to the establishment.
Both partied secured legal representation and the outcome both parties agreed on; Wanda J’s Next Generation would vacate the space, choosing not to sign the lease and pay their share of utility cost.
From the Desk of Ty Walker: Owner Wanda J’s Next Generation on Greenwood:
As the Owner of Wanda J’s Restaurant, a year lease was signed in September of 2016. The lease ended in September of 2017 and we were working on a new leasing agreement with Mrs. Leola McDaniel’s. There had recently been a change of presidential leadership as well as office management. Therefore, a meeting for the signing of a new lease had been postponed time and time again. In fact, we had no idea of who was actually in charge given that a number of people lost their jobs for various reasons.
As a result, we remained paying our same rent and continued our month-to-month basis to Mrs. Leola McDaniel’s and then once she no longer worked there, we began to deliver our rent to the individuals in the Archive building. Still no one mentioned anything about our new lease. Until Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., June 22, 2018 Mr. Freeman delivered a new leasing agreement giving us the weekend to sign it and have it returned to them by Monday, June 25th, 2018.
This gave us no time to have it overlooked by an Attorney to make a formal decision. The lease was written in a way that any legitimate business would not sign without having it overlooked by their Attorney in a reasonable amount of time. I asked him “How can you come into a business on a Friday and tell them to sign a lease by Monday without allowing them the time to have their legal counsel go over it with them”.
Mr. Freeman returned later that week on Wed. June 27th, 2018 during lunch time to deliver a document in an envelope. I was out of town at the time however, he was directed to deliver the document to an Owner at Evelyn’s Restaurant. He delivered it, and it was an eviction notice for July 2018 since the new leasing agreement hadn’t been signed. During the delivering of that notice he agreed to notify us of a meeting/appointment to go over the new lease together and sign. However, he never contacted us and after numerous attempts to call and set up the meeting ourselves we received no response.
As a result, we sought legal counsel, so we could be protected since we weren’t given the opportunity to meet with them. Our Attorney reached out to the Chamber and we continued to pay rent (in which was excepted, and the checks were cashed). We have documentation of the Attorney reaching out to them. Our Attorney could not figure out who was in charge. We continued to wait, and no eviction notice was ever delivered by a Sheriff. Our Attorney was contacted in August stating that the Chamber themselves had secured legal counsel.
A court date was set which was Thursday, September 6, 2018 in which it was decided by the Chamber that they no longer wanted us to be a Tenant and therefore they refused to renew our lease. We even offered to sign the new lease in court and pay whatever they were asking, and they still refused. We had no problem paying rent. We just wanted an understanding of what it was that we were signing. We will release the old lease and the new lease to show how they were written. Thank you all for your support and feel free to share our statement.
It appears to that the Greenwood Chamber could easily rectify this situation, but apparently, they would rather have Wanda Js off Greenwood as they continue to raise the tenant’s rent, we are witnessing the Gentrification Black Wall Street.
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