The Rumba Room at Universal CityWalk is getting the boot, and its owner is crying foul, noting that the Walk kicked out the black-owned club BB King's and is now aiming an “unlawful detainer action” at the mall's only Latina-owned venue.
But the Walk previously announced that another Latino-owned venue was set to take its place: Chris Rojas will bring his San Francisco-based Infusion Lounge dance club to CityWalk in spring, according to a Unversal Studios statement.
On Friday Rumba Room owner Delia Hauser distributed a press release connecting the attempted ejection of her business from the Walk to the controversial closure of BB King's Blues Club, the Walk's only African-American-owned venue, two years ago.
A Universal Studios executive wrote in a recent letter than the Rumba Room's lease was up Dec. 31 and argued the venue had not been meeting revenue-sharing targets that, if hit or surpassed, would have allowed the lease extension that Hauser seeks.
Andy Camacho, who opened Camacho's Cantina on the Walk in 1993, recently sent a letter to supporters of the Room. In it he says he co-founded Rumba in 2000 and emphasizes that he believes CityWalk has indeed been supportive of minority-owned businesses like his.
For her part, Hauser says:
“In its ten year history the Rumba Room has never missed a rent payment. Even during these difficult economic times, the Rumba Room has always met its financial obligations to CityWalk and historically has been a major economic driver at CityWalk, generating millions of dollars in concerts and events, food and beverage, parking and other consumer-driven dollars.
“Two years ago, BB King's Blues Club, one of the few African American venues on the Walk went out of business and CityWalk is attempting to eliminate the Rumba Room, the only Latina-owned business on the Walk. These questionable practices have to end. If it takes a counter suit to fight for our ability to extend our lease then so be it. We intend to fight this every step of the way.”
Eliot Sekuler, a public relations vice president at Universal Studios Hollywood, which owns and runs the walk, responded:
“The allegations are wholly without merit. Because the leasing issue is current in litigation we regret that we cannot make further comment.”