May 14, 2010
 
No Laughs at Huntington Funny Bone
Closed, in the Hands of Attorneys
 
By Tony Rutherford
Huntingtonnews.net Reporter
 
Huntington, WV (HNN) – “It is closed and in the hands of the lawyers,” said Bill Dargusch , co-owner of Metropolitan Partners which leased space in Pullman Square to the Funny Bone Comedy Club.
 
Earlier reports had stated that the closing was “temporary” or in a state of “limbo,” but Dargusch’s response by email on Thursday afternoon, May 13, removed those qualifiers.
 
The developer’s response appears to state that the ownership change and lease transfer of the establishment contains more issues than a routine sales transaction. In fact, he responded specifically to a question of whether it would re-open when the potential new owner signs a lease.
 
“[That’s] all I can say,” Dargusch wrote in the email .
 
Last week Tom Schaefer, the would-be new owner, had stated that the club was closed for the weekend to work out issues. At that time, Dargusch declined further comment, one of the questions asked was whether the club was current or owned back rent.
 
Earlier in the week, HNN surveyed the club site and found it in a state of suspended animation. Although the doors were locked, the ticket reservation desk seemed business ready and the hall lobby posters (and web site) still proclaimed a list of upcoming comedians.
 
A telephone call to the club box office still continues to have a recording stating ticket window hours.
 
A Herald-Dispatch article indicated that the Huntington franchise is in the process of being sold, and Dargusch had stressed his company did not have a valid lease with the proposed new owner.
 
In fact, WSAZ quoted Schaefer Thursday afternoon as stating “apparently my name is not on the lease. They need to get my name on the lease but they are tying my hands.”
 
Schaefer complained about a lack of communication with the Pullman Square owners stating that they had been “locked out.”
 
The television station spoke with one employee who complained that their pay check had been returned for insufficient funds.
 
Tom Schaefer, who In January 2010 posted bail for comedian Andy Dick, is the prospective purchaser of the facility, if his company can come to terms with Dargusch. He told the television station that if he cannot work out the squabble with Metropolitan Partners, the Funny Bone will likely open elsewhere.
 
Meanwhile, don’t plan on seeing Brian Bradley or Tennessee Tramp there, even though the website is still operational.
 
The Funny Bone had been one of the original tenants which opened the Pullman Square complex. Empire Books, Starbucks, Marquee Cinemas and Funny Bone were among the first to open at the complex.



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