We’re not the first blog to report on the “cooler problem” that the Stillwater Dana Point Restaurant used to cancel a scheduled fundraiser for AD-73 candidate Wendy Gabriella, but we’ve taken the story a step further.
On Saturday morning, we called the restaurant’s general manager on his personal cell phone. I said my name and said I was with the LiberalOC and quickly asked if the restaurant was open this weekend because I heard their were some “cooler problems.” GM Matt Guzetta opted to answer the question first to say “we’re open” and then said, “who is this again?” After realizing he was speaking to us and we asked about the cancelled fundraiser for Gabriella, he backtracked and said part of the restaurant wouldn’t be open but he wasn’t going to explain it to someone calling his personal cell phone and hung up.
How did I get his personal cell phone? It was attached to an email he sent to his boss asking for help in dealing with Gabriella’s campaign who wanted to know when they could reschedule the event that Guzetta or the restaurant’s owner did not want rescheduled.
Because the Stillwater was packed this weekend and their GM reported a “cooler” problem to a contracted party, TheLiberalOC (I should say “me”) reported the restaurant to the Orange County Health Agency this morning urging them to inspect the restaurant’s coolers as patrons may have been served food stored in inoperative coolers placing their health at risk. The nice young lady took the information I provided and said she’s share it with her boss.
The email in question from Guzetta is below; he inadvertently copied someone from Gabriella’s campaign which is how we got it. We have deleted that email address and Guzetta’s cell phone number:
From: Matt Guzzetta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 6:10 PM Subject: Rosemarie
To: Nick Cozens <email@example.com>
Nick, So after speaking with Rosemarie (the lady whose event we cancelled) over the phone she showed up in the restaurant with her husband tonight. She keeps saying how “suspicious it is” left a voicemail on Edgar’s phone saying this is “fucked up” etc and knows we are playing politicos. I told her on the phone we had to cancel the event due to unforeseen circumstances with our cooler going down and launching our restaurant this weekend as I didn’t want to come out and say “we aren’t allowing you to have this event because our boss is friends with the owner”. I don’t think that’s a message that should come from me, especially now that I have them coming into the restaurant. She came in today and asked if we can’t do it this week can we do it next week, or the following one (basically trying to goad me into saying we aren’t ever going to hold it).
I need some assistance on how to handle this further as she is not going to go away and I don’t want her showing up in the restaurant each day.
24701 Del Pravo Ave.
Dana Point, CA 92629
Now while the other blogs are breathlessly reporting that the Bill Brough campaign pressured the restaurant into cancelling the Gabriella event, there’s no actual evidence of this in the “smoking gun” email.
We contacted the Brough campaign for comment and they denied that the candidate had anything to do with the cancellation. Tim Clark, with the Brough campaign. said “To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Brough had nothing to do with the cancellation. He is focused on one race.” When asked if Brough sent a text message, Clark responded that he didn’t know.
We contacted Gabriella, who says the fundraiser was a success and that the Stillwater, where it was supposed to be, was packed during the time her fundraiser was supposed to happen.
We asked for actual proof that Brough pressured the restaurant to cancel her event and her campaign offered this statement from the fundraiser’s co-host, Rosemarie Allaire: “Bill Brough sent a text to the Stillwater contact that I was corresponding with for the event regarding cancelling the 09-14-14 Wendy Gabriella fundraiser.”
We haven’t seen the text and cannot verify its accuracy.
Regardless of which set of facts you choose to believe, what’s painfully clear is the Stillwater in Dana Point decided that “green” from a “blue” candidate wasn’t worthy of their cash register. I sure hope the restaurant doesn’t go into the Red relying on Republican only dollars, because there are plenty of places Democrats can dine in Dana Point without patronizing this business.