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Posted on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

Owner: Ypsilanti nightclubs Savoy and Pub 13 close amid DTE Energy billing issues

By Tom Perkins

DTE Energy shut off the lights at two of Ypsilanti’s downtown nightclubs on Wednesday - and utility officials said Monday that Pub 13 and Savoy owner David Curtis owes more than $30,000 on the accounts.


A sign on a door at Savoy notifies customers that a show scheduled for Friday night changed venues.

Tom Perkins | For

But Curtis disputes that amount and says he made a payment as recently as last week. He added that the large debt is the result of being underbilled because of a malfunctioning DTE meter, which a DTE spokesman confirmed.

Curtis fears that error could drive him out of business.

Pub 13 remained open last Wednesday, the busiest bar night of the year, by utilizing a generator but has since shut down. Curtis couldn’t offer a date when either club will reopen but underscored they would.

DTE spokesman Scott Simons explained the company switched billing systems in 2009, at which time employees discovered the North Washington Street night clubs were significantly undercharged for their power consumption. Simons, who wouldn’t provide a figure for how much the clubs were undercharged, said a faulty multiplier on the DTE-installed meter caused the misread.

Simons said DTE had set up a payment plan allowing Curtis several years to pay back the charges, but Curtis had defaulted.

Curtis said that was untrue and that he recently made $4,000 payment that covered his current and back balances. He said an agreement with DTE permitted him to skip back payments over the summer months, but officials told him the power was shut off because they never received a signed agreement.

He said the bills at other establishments he owns were similar to those of Pub 13 and Savoy, so he had no way of knowing they were too low. He questioned whether he actually owes over $30,000 because the establishments use similar levels of electricity, and the figure seems high for Savoy and Pub 13.

Curtis also said his next bill wasn’t due until Nov. 29, and DTE made a mistake in shutting off the power on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.


Pub 13 in on North Washington Street in downtown Ypsilanti.

Tom Perkins | For

He said DTE has shut off his power five times this year — sometimes mistakenly — but employees restored power the same day. Curtis said when he asked officials to turn the power back on on Wednesday, they refused to do so without a large payment.

Savoy, a 700-person capacity music venue, opened its doors in March to replace the former Club Divine. Pub 13 is a piano bar located next door to Savoy. Curtis also owns J Neil’s Mongolian Grill and Key Stone Underground martini bar next door to Pub 13. The Key Stone will host many events scheduled for Savoy in the coming months.

Curtis said DTE’s mistake also caused collateral issues with the roughly 40 employees who are now out of work. The company shutting off the power for an extended period of time also spoiled roughly $5,000 worth of food in the kitchens and affects his customer base, he said.

Although determined to reopen, Curtis expressed frustration over what has transpired. He said he received the bill in 2009, but DTE took two months to provide an explanation. He said business has slowed over the last two years because of the economy, and the error puts a serious strain on his budget.


Savoy located on North Washington Street in downtown Ypsilanti.

Tom Perkins | For

“How can they send me a bill for this outrageous amount of money?” Curtis asked. “I feel like DTE thinks I have an open check book to write this money and I don’t. We’ve been working very hard to make this happen.”

He said a representative assigned to his account will no longer return his calls, and he is particularly upset that DTE’s employees ask why he didn’t notice the bill was low when their equipment was faulty.

“They’re trying to blame their mistake on me,” he said. “I have made fairly large payments against that bill along with trying to stay current, but DTE doesn’t care about the person. Either your electricity is turned on or it’s turned off, but they don’t call you, they don’t acknowledge you, they don’t care what happens to you.”

Meanwhile, Washtenaw County records show the Savoy owes $44,632.99 in back taxes for 2008 and 2009, including interest and penalties.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


Honest Abe

Thu, Dec 9, 2010 : 12:07 a.m.

@BevBuck: Your knowledge of the situation and Dave Curtis is LIMITED at best! DO you have any idea paychecks have bounced? and howlong this has been going on? WAY BEFORE this DTE issue. I DO own a business in YPsilanti, I have put my $$ where my mouth is! Mr. Curtis knowingly allowed paychecks to be issued that he knew would bounce, cause chargeback fee's and overdraft fee's for some! Do you have any clue how many employee's were late on their bills? Student Loans? food for their kids? car payments? Just to hear Dave say "Oh, my bookeeper messed up" OR "Really?" Or "No way!" Do you know how many employee's had credit scores plummet over his beforehand knowledge of badchecks being issued? One of my businesses is a party store- Where he bounced over $1,000 in payroll checks!! Even if DTE is in fault, how does a So-called good businessman allow 4 FOUR BARS sink over $30,000.00?? I dont wanna hear the "economy is bad" crap either!! He has brought in plenty of money! I know this for FACT! Also- There is NOBODY pulling strings with DTE so Dave will fail and they can "move in"! That is a preposterous statement by you! Is DTE repsonsible for the $45000 in back taxes too? The city of Ypsilanti must of under charged him too, then caught the error! Gees,just think, all these "errors" are putting poor ole Dave out of business. nah......Dave is putting Dave out of business...thats a FACT

Bev Buck

Tue, Dec 7, 2010 : 4:29 a.m.

I smell a rat. Seems to me there is more going on here than meets the eye. Why would DTE turn off the power on the very day that bars do the most business of the entire year? I would like to know who is pulling DTE's strings. Who wants to put Dave out of business? Who stands to profit in the long run? Who has their eye on that building? For those who are making comments to Dave's detriment, I would like to ask if you have owned a business in Ypsilanti or anywhere for that matter? Have you put your money where your mouth is? Have you walked through the fire, paying everyone else but yourself? Dave has worked tirelessly to improve this town. What I can't understand is why our city council and chamber of commerce are not coming to his defense. Don't they see what a black hole this will leave in the downtown? For those making comments regarding Ypsilanti - this is a beautiful city with incredible treasures. Look at the gorgeous architecture all around you, the museums rich with history, the festivals and performances going on year round. The diversity you mention makes us rich in ways that Pleasantville will never know. Take a moment to say hello and a kind word to that bum on the corner and you will see a beautiful soul looking back at you with gratitude if you can bring yourself to look them in the eyes. Be kind to that waitress at Deja Vu working to feed and clothe her kids. These are my neighbors and I respect them for hanging on to hope for a better day. That better day will come when we see the beauty that is here right in front of us. If you can't see it then perhaps you should clean up your own back yard. And Dave, if you are reading this, we need to talk. I've got a project that just might turn things around.

Honest Abe

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 : 12:34 a.m.

According to city records, A person named Mark LeChard owns the building that is home to former Divine and Savoy. Mr LeChard also OWNS "Maximum LLC"....the name on ALL Pub 13 paychecks! These checks are signed by "David Curtis". There is an obvious "Silent" partnership involving Mr LeChard. After doing some research, Mr Lechard franchises a Dry Cleaning service and he OWNS the house that Dave Curtis resides in Pinckney Michigan. Maybe Mark LeChard would shed some light on things!? His franchise is "1-800-DRY Clean.Com" at 2381 Stadium Blvd Ann Arbor, Mi 48103 telephone 734-637-4757 Like I said, He is on paper with the city of Ypsilanti as the owner/partner of Savoy/former Divine. Dave is on the liquor license. Dave solely owns the building at 13 N washington.

Bob Needham

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

(Comment removed due to a personal attack)

Ypsi Supporter

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

Owning a business in Ypsi does not mean you care about Ypsi or the people in it. And apparently not all of us pay too much taxes in Ypsi, some pay none at all. If business owners in Ypsi cared they would pay due taxes, treat employees with respect and they would stay current with bills so that thier employees could maintain a regular source of income. As stated before, DTE is only a fraction of the parties involved that have not recieved thier earned money. When you let a business shut down due to none payment of: eectricity, liquor orders and distributer orders, ect. you hurt the hard working people of Ypsilanti's pockets. If these two care so much where were they when thier employees could not work due to poor management?


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 4 p.m.

I am a property manager in Ypsilanti and I can attest that dealing with DTE is beyond a pain in the butt. We also had a similar situation with one property and it took us 6 months to resolve it and more time and faxes that I care to mention. Dave Curtis is a great guy (have not seen you in a while sir!) and cares more about Ypsilanti than most people do. With out the Pub and Savoy there is not much to do in this little town. Oh and the tax issue? We all pay WAY TO MUCH TAXES in Ypsilanti and for what?

Ypsi Supporter

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

The insults do not make the person, the person makes the insults. I am a former employee and manager at both Pub, Divine and Elbow room. If I was to go into specifics about what was done wrong they would have to be paying me to run the place. Understand the problem. You get what you pay for, so a $10/hour manager is going to do a $10/hour job. And if you keep piling responsibilities on an underpaid employee bad thing are inevitable.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

Wow lots of unsupported personally and professionally harmful statements made here. Gosh I wonder why people don't want to give interviews to Ann They protect posters from insults but allow unverifiable insults to be hurled at the business owner. Lovely.

Ypsi Supporter

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 1:16 p.m.

The thing that hurt Savoy most was putting his future in the hands of Mr. Curtis, I mean other than not paying taxes.

Honest Abe

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

John D Curtis AKA: "Dave" Curtis- NEVER OWNED DEJA VU! Deja Vu is owned by Harry Vigil Mohney. A Very wealthy strip club mogul. Mr Mohney has always owned Deja Vu at 31 N Washington!! David Curtis was a GM at nothing more! This can be verified by contacting Deja Vu Consulting in Lansing,Mi (313) 323-3052 Jim St John, George Couch and Joe Hall (Top brass) will verify that Dave Curtis NEVER had any type of ownership or ownership role. Joe Hall terminated Dave Curtis on January of 2002 for discovering "missing company assets and resources"


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

Bring back the Spaghetti Bender!!!


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

The thing that hurt the Savoy the most was letting amateurs book the music before Garris took over. Those people tarnished the name so much that Garris couldn't bring it back. I look forward to Dave Curtis reopening that block in the near future.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

If this guy isn't paying his County taxes of $44,632 what makes him think I would believe DTE is trying to rip him off? How many employees is he effecting by not paying his utility bill and taxes. Next time your DTE bill raises and your County taxes go up you can thank Savoy. He had an opportunity of a few years to make amends, he failed to live up to his end, the taxes are another story, he knew he had to pay them and he failed to do so, I can't feel sorry for those that make quick cash on Wednesday's and fail their obligations. I wonder how much he owes the IRS along with all the vendors that supported his venture, food, beverage and suppliers, I doubt you'll hear about those individuals or small businesses.

Ypsi Supporter

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

Its called karma, people reap what they sew. I hope these 2 business owners have been sewing some good things. Also just because Savoy didn't exist in 08 and 09 does not mean that you were not paying your taxes on your business. The name of the business is irrelevant. You can't change your business name and expect everything to go away. I hope the city, state and federal government get what you owe then plus fines.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

DTE, It is absolutely a fact that if you keep the power shut off to this man's businesses, you will never collect the amount you say that he owes. He will have no revenue. D'oh! I'm sure trying to pay back this huge and unexpected bill has drained the owner of the businesses over the past months. I think we know how difficult it is for local small businesses right now to get financing when they have this kind of difficulty. At some point, the owner has to throw in the towel.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

Don Bee, Have you had personal positive experience in communications with the MPSC? I have not. My success came when I went to my state and federal representatives and they cut through the red tape and resolved the problem. Then they asked me to continue to report any problems. The MPSC are political appointees so they do listen to politicians! Just my experience.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

also to add, the power got shut off because he didn't pay the bill. Sure you can write a check for whatever amount, but if the money isn't in there, then that check doesn't do you any good now does it. Oh, and there was about 6 employees left. The rest had already quit because they couldn't cash their checks... And still haven't been able to...


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

As to DTE and meters. The US Department of Energy gave DTE a maximum grant of $200,000,000.00 last year to upgrade meters as part of the Stimulus Bill. DTE had to match this with $250,000,000 of its own funds. You will get a new meter, and it will happen in the next couple of years. By regulation, when they find an old meter that was wrong, they have to either rebate the overpayment or bill you for the underpayment. If you don't like it, the Public Service Commission is the body that sets the rules. Be aware that this is a rule that is in place in almost every state in the US, it is not a special thing for DTE or Michigan. DTE has a lot of flexibility in payment plans and it looks like (again read the article) that they provided a long term (several years) payment plan for the back billing. Also remember that by regulation, someone does not pay their bill and it is determined they will not, it gets added to the next year for everyone else to pay. So people who don't pay add to your electric bill. Again this is a long established Public Service Commission rule that is mirrored in almost every state in the US.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 5:28 a.m.

Looks like some disgruntled ex-employees wanted to jump in and take potshots at the guy eh? That would be laughable if not for the fact that accusing people of crimes such as "corruption" on a local blog site without any proof is not laughable.


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 1:48 a.m.

First it has to be decided if he owes,and how much he owes? Then if indeed he does owe how will he pay it?

Honest Abe

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 12:49 a.m.

I own a total of 6....yep, SIX party stores in Ypsi and Ann Arbor. The Pubs checks (Maximum LLC) bounce like basketballs. My staff confronted him directly and he blamed his "bookkeeper". He made it sound like no big deal and fed me excuse after excuse. He also owes my other fellow store owners too! This guy is not a businessman he is made out to be! He is a lying, false person who has screwed alot of people. Hopefully he leaves Ypsi and a REAL business person takes over!


Wed, Dec 1, 2010 : 12:16 a.m.

It is true that the issue with DTE happened, however that is not the entire story. David ran the business terribly and made mistake leading to him not having the money in the first place. I don't blame DTE for Pub 13 no longer being open, because it comes down to the type of owner he is. I've never had the owner of a business find it acceptable to pull a female employee towards him and seat her in his lap, or make jokes that she should start stripping for him and his friends. Paychecks were post dated, bounced constantly and after I quit I had to wait nearly a month to cash my last paycheck. David is not a good person and he deserves what he got, I just wish that his employees had not gotten brought down in the process. DTE isn't the only bad company here. Anything that Dave is a part of will eventually have the same issue.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:28 p.m.

I second Brian VomSteeg's comment. Also, one thing that dave can do is feed you a load of crap. Ask any employee that has worked for him and they can tell you the truth. I think this won't be the last time we hear about dave and what he has done, in fact, I am sure of it. You get what you give. And dave, you sure do have a lot of negative coming back to you!


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:25 p.m.

Apple and orange comparisons are futile in this discussion of businesses. Ypsi is a real city in Michigan (unlike its sister to the west, with its uninterrupted flow of cash provided by the parents of kids who couldn't get into NYU). Ypsi has real characters who take real risks in their own way. It has real dive bars with working class people in them. The fact that people keep trying is what makes the town great and not some glorified strip mall with a 5 Guys Hamburgers where Shaman Drum used to be. Sure, some businesses thrive in the more staid satellites of Ypsi, but most of them have the words "Panera" or "Starbucks" in them. Oasis was a perfect example of a unique attempt at a charity-business hybrid. But it was never as full as Beezy's. But both would have a hard time surviving to the west.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 8:26 p.m.

Shawdow Manager, I'm assuming your point is that it is next to impossible to run a business in downtown Ypsi, I'd say that it is partly true. It has been an uphill battle for Dave for a decade. But this was his dream and he fought hard to survive. To everyone else, I guess it has become another American Sport...kicking people when they are down. I hope if you have a dream and work hard night and day to make it a reality....that people are kinder to you. And I promise that if Ann writes an article about your loss, I will not criticize you or your effort. I will at a minimum give you credit for working hard and trying to make a difference, for serving food at all of the local charity events and taking the loss, for volunteering to help the needy kids at Christmas, for sponsoring the many downtown events etc.... in other words, if you work as hard as Dave did, you're okay with me.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

I could go on a long, long time about possible reasons why some...very few... businesses succeed in downtown Ypsi...Beezys foremost among the new examples because, well, they have a good food and good atmosphere...but these are still, sadly, an oasis (excuse a reference to the long-closed "Oasis" cafe that formerly occupied the space where Beezy's now is...after it, too, had a moment in the sun before sinking deep beneath the waves of "no longer in business...there's a lesson there, I hope the poster that brought up Beezy's in the first place is aware enough to learn it...) Anyhow, it's almost a miracle when a new business is successful in that part of town. The odds are usually very much stacked AGAINST it...and being neglectful of paying one's back taxes is one of thoser things in life that can...for once...probably fall into the category of "things one can control". It's a shame more businesses aren't savvy enough to attend to those details. Deja Vu. The proxmity of a very sketchy bus-station. A few surrounding blocks of transient rooming house, public, & apartment housing. The least desirable real estate in the city in the southside and a little further down the road, loads of prostitution and drug-dealing on Grove and Michigan Avenues. Halfway houses and crack houses on Emmett and Hamilton. A flophouse library on Michigan Ave, A very busy police station, plasma blood donation center, and courthouse. A circuit of sketchier than average bars (ever been to Arthur's, my plebian friends? or perhaps Mr. Mike's? Now, those, those are dives...)... The list goes on and on...yes sir, downtown Ypsilanti, a latter day small business paradise!


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

HP, The very wealthy owners of the Deja Vu Clubs would laugh at your statement that David used to own them! The statement is false.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

Well now...a pattern is emerging. 'Faulty' meters. Improper multipliers. Strong arm tactics. Mr. Dearing (or Perkins), do you not smell a much larger story here?


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 6:29 p.m.

I agree with Rod - what about Mittenfest? It brings a lot of people to downtown Ypsi to celebrate the end of the old year and the start of the new year. Could this DTE fiasco be put out with the old year and we have a new beginning?


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 6:13 p.m.

@ Steve, you are 100% correct. And GREAT for acknowledging!! I couldnt agree with you more! @ Craig, LOLLLLLL


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 6:08 p.m.

There is a HUGE issue with DTE haveing faulty meters. If these meters can not be trusted, how do I know their meter is not over charging million sof other customers. If DTE can not be bothered to upkeep THEIR equipment SHAME ON THEM. It was THEIR screw up and they admit it. Even going as far as to say "DTE has shut off his power five times this year sometimes mistakenly ". I think I would be in contact with a lawyer and going after this greedy monopoly that is the worst utility ever fielded. Instead of DTE buying luxury suites, or naming rights with money from their monopoly, they should be forced to lower prices. If a utility gets a monopoly, they should not be allowed to make a profit. They are allowed to pay their bills and that is it.

Angry Sasquatch

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 6:03 p.m.

DTE pulled a similar stunt on my parents a few years ago. They had to pay a few hundred dollars more on a particular bill because of being undercharged due to faulty DTE equipment. You would think a company that had a profit of 546 million last year would monitor the condition of its equipment more efficiently.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

Maybe instead of buying a Luxury suite at Michigan Stadium this past fall DTE should have invested that 55-85,000 dollars on fixing their meters.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 4:59 p.m.

LOL @ the guy who infers that the Strip Club is limiting the earning power of Curtis' overblown and underfunded ventures. I am not saying he's a bad guy but he only has this cash and the ability to buy these businesses because he was pocketing all the money from the Deja Vu sex trade for years. At Deja Vu he didn't need to know how to manage anything, just pick out good looking women and then cash the checks. Now that he owns all these other businesses that require complex decision making and budgeting he seems to be in over his head. Pub 13 and the piano bar show little or no reinvestment of profits and have lost business because they have become rundown as a result of Curtis' decision making and management style, not because of the economy. It seems he was a bit too audacious with his purchases and more than a little naive about what it would take to make them all successful.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 4:49 p.m.

DTE might be partially responsible for taxes not getting paid, because (as others have mentioned) you try to keep the lights on first, when times are tough. As to why this is happening in Ypsi and not other Washtenaw areas (even though it is happening all around us): look across the street. Inside Beezy's, the crowd is laughing at the idea that that area is too dangerous or "sketch" to keep a business thriving. Crime there is no more sketchy than parts of Ann Arbor. Yet people who live in those famous few square miles surrounded by reality rarely venture into Ypsi. Could it be because Ypsi is the least white of all the other Washtenaw cities? Naw. Couldn't be that!

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 4:39 p.m.

Even if DTE does not have flexibility with bills, they do have flexibility with shutting off the power or not. But I have to wonder if DTE does not have flexibility with bills, how could one deal with a situation like this. I suppose they would have to become flexible if a court ordered them to. It seems to me that if someone is undercharged because of faulty DTE equipment, they should not have to pay. If that isn't what the law says, it is what the law *should* say.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

So, how was DTE responsible for Dave not paying his taxes? As for the strip club on the corner, I don't think Dave minds it too much. He used to own it.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 3:57 p.m.

For those of you who say that DTE should forgive the bill or do something here, there is a problem. That is they operate under state regulation and that regulation is NOT flexible on payments. They can (and the article seems to indicate did) offer long term payment on back bills, up to several years. Anyone who has a real problem with DTE only need contact the Public Service Commission to get a reply from DTE. Keep good records if you are going to do that. The Public Service Commission can be found on the State of Michigan Home Page.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 3:49 p.m.

I have never personally had a problem with DTE but I have heard enough "horror" stories that I plain don't trust them as a corporation. They have very little competition in a given area and they have a product that most Americans can't do without. They have us all by the throat and they know it. They treat their "customers" like petty thieves or cattle.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

Cash, Firstly, to answer BOTH your questions, I meant my observation in humor, but come to think of it, it seems a little remedial education on the art of running a small business might be in order for some of these many otherwise healthy businesses going under because of some faulty bookkeeping. And yes, the need does seem particularly apparent, especially in the area in question, downtown Ypsilanti. It's not confined there, but the subject of the article is a business in Ypsilanti, so I stive always to keep to the topic. Oddly, not coincidentially, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, a state agency dedicated to helping small businesses located withint walking distance of the closed businesses with the tax and bill issues... Perhaps they might be contacted to help some of these Ypsilanti business owners get back on their feet. I'm sure alot of businesses are behind on their taxes, but we were talking about Ypsilanti downtown in this article, and come to think of it I've never seen so many start-ups...and a major thoroughfare in our county as I have seen there. Is there another area in the A2, west Ypsi, Saline, Dexter, heck, even Chelsea...with as many vacant storefronts and short-lived businesses as that area? Could it have something to do with no foot traffic, high crime,. and...ahem, the near proximity of a giant X-rated dancing establishment (Deja Vu) that scares away anchor and chain franchises that might be willing...if there wasn't a nude bar willing to re-locate there? Naw. Couldn't be that!

Steve Pierce

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

@Magen, I did right after I heard what was going on. I may not be able to make a difference but I will do my best. Despite what the "haters" say, David has done a lot for Ypsilanti and the community over the years, it would be the least I or anyone of us in the community could do to help. The truest friends are those you can count on in the worst of times. David has been a very good friend to me and to Ypsilanti. - Steve


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

@CASH; you are SPOT on! I agree with all your comments. @STEVE PIERCE; You should reach out to him. I think this is horrible that 1. a man cant figure this out with out everyone in Washtenaw County knowing his business. But; maybe its a god sent. How can we reach out to help him? A man who has GIVEN AND GIVEN to the community and constintly is trying to revive Ypsilanti and gives to the community and look where it gets him. DTE has time and time again gotten away with this BS and we as consumers are stuck, because we have no other choice! He is not the only business who DTE has tried to shut down. They do it all the time. Welcome to Michigan Economy! ARGH, Im ready to write a letter to who ever it takes. If the attorney general, the state, the governor will listen, we have to help!!!!!! Any suggestions on where we should go?

Rod Johnson

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

What will this mean for Mittenfest?

Steve Pierce

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

When I owned the Kresge building (which is where Mongolian and Keystone is now located), I ran into a similar problem with DTE. The electrical service was transferred from K-Mart to me after I was able to get Kmart out of the remaining 27 years on the lease. Then DTE, the very next month, said there was a mistake in billing K-Mart and that I owed $186,000 for electricity. I said bill Kmart and DTE said they already gave it to Kmart and Kmart sad they weren't paying it so DTE was coming after me since I was the property owner. The electricity was in Kmarts name, Kmart was the tenant, but DTE was coming after me. I fought with DTE for nearly 4 months saying that amount of electricity was enough to light up an entire block for a year and no way a run down vacant building that only had 3 working 100 watt light bulbs could use that much electricity. DTE accused me of fraudulent hook-ups, disabling and damaging meters, even accused me of stealing electricity and DTE even threatened to have me arrested. Turns out DTE was using the wrong multiplier, in the recalculation I owed them just over $160. Truth is I didn't even owe that because of the multiplier, they had actually been overcharging Kmart for nearly 10 years. But I gladly paid it so I could keep the power on. Even during the fight, DTE at one point turned off the power which was a real problem because that meant the igniter wouldn't fire on the furnace which meant the pipes could freeze. It was a huge fight and it was made worse by DTE accusing me of a crime. Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I ran into the same problem where DTE wouldn't return calls. Even Paul Ganz in Ann Arbor wouldn't return my calls. I wanted Ganz to come out and see we hadn't touched the meter. I finally had to call Anthony Early, then CEO, and spoke to him about this mess. His secretary was none too happy when I used their own voice mail system to transfer my call directly to Early. But Early was true to his word and fixed the problem and then assigned someone in the executive office to resolve any future problems. I still own commercial property owner and I still struggle with DTE billing errors from time to time. Usually after a tenant doesn't pay their bill. Thankfully the executive office has fixed the problem every time. I feel for David, but David is right. Once DTE has decided you are a scofflaw, even if DTE is wrong, they literally have the "power" to kill your business. This isn't the only time DTE has trashed a business in Ypsilanti. DTE turned the gas off at major complex in the north part of the city despite the fact there were hundreds of people living there. That mess was the likely tipping point that pushed them into bankruptcy. Same thing, they had a payment arrangement, DTE ignored it and shut off service. David, if you are reading this, give me a call. Tony Early left in September 2010, so things may have changed. But I may be able to help at least get DTE to return calls. If nothing else, Gerard Anderson is the new CEO, he may still have the same extension as the old CEO, lets give him a call and see if he answers. Cheers! - Steve

4 Fingers

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

and don't forget the firefly club in ann arbor...I think Ypsi is more hard hit being blue collar, and the loss of jobs.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

Shadow Manager, I am sure that many businesses in the county are behind on their taxes. My question was twofold but skipping the first, are you thinking that only Ypsilanti businesses are behind in paying taxes?


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 1:16 p.m.

Cash, Bars in that part of town...also counting Bombadils, a cafe, if we're keeping track...have a bad track record for keeping up on their overhead and taxes. Want some examples? Ok, here's some: TC's Speakeasy. Closed 2 years because of back taxes. Elbow room. closed by former owner (since re-opened) because on unpaid taxes, bills, backpay, and updates. Bombadils. Savoy. Pub 13. And that's just on that city block. No, not kidding, unfortunately.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

DTE does this to residential consumers all the time. I don't know why they are allowed to do this. How about they be responsible for their own equipment? It's their responsibility to monitor your usage and bill you appropriately for it.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

Sad times! I spent most of my time hanging out at the pub.. Hadn't been to the new Savoy club yet but I have to give props to Curtis for employing Ypsi people. People who need the jobs.

4 Fingers

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

Look- if you own a business your going to know something of what you pay in utilities on a monthly basis. let see, my business is x square feet to heat and cool, I have a gas powered kitchen and my bill is $2000.00. Something ain't right. They will catch up to you. As far as ypsi businesses not paying taxes - most struggling businesses pay taxes last on the list because you need supplies. labor, oh and utilities. I bet that water sewer bill is $0


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

I recently visited BDSP for some pool and Pub 13 for dueling pianos and was so very dissapointed. Both places have gone so far down hill that I won't be returning there. They used to be the places to be for some pool and good times but the facilities are filthy and atmosphere is changed. I'm not surprised they didn't pay their DTE bill if the ownership can't even keep the facilities up to the previous standard of cleanliness and functionality...sorry...but my 8+ year patronage is now over for all these facilities...I agree DTE is a beast and good luck trying to get that settled but I'm surely not surprised the ownership didn't keep up with the bills...


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

If the cash register at Macy's rings up your $200 coat for $20 and you pay it, they can't call you up later and say, "Oops, we made a mistake; you should have known that was too cheap and you owe us $180." Nope. If DTE made a mistake, they made a mistake. Put the power back on and stop beating down people who are trying to make Ypsi a success.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

Andy, you are kidding right? DTE is responsible for providing the equipment to monitor usage, and to provide an accurate statement to reflect that usage. If the equipment is faulty, a consumer has no way of knowing so DTE has the responsibility of insuring the equipment is working properly. It is not fair to allegedly undercharge somebody for years and then come back later and expect a person to pay up. People plan their finances on what the think their current bills are. You can bet if DTE discovered it overcharged somebody, it isn't going to send somebody a check after a couple of years. If DTE were sued it would likely lose. It was negligent in how it charged Clubs. Problem is most people don't have the resources to fight DTE. Curtis should talk to an attorney and possible file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He could force a settlement with DTE and get his power turned back on.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

Shadow Manager, Really? You think Ypsilanti business owners don't know HOW to pay their taxes? And you think Ypsilanti business are the only business in the county that are behind in their taxes?????


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

DTE should eat the loss. It was their mistake with the equipment and billing.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

@ Craig, I'm sure a lot of conjecture ansd speculation went into ciphering that bill. @ ypsi girl, might have been your neighbor if you lived in a blue house. You should have let me know, more than welcome to share my heat, just needed to move the dogs off the heat registers.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

There seems to be another elephant in the room that might hamper longterm success of these clubs: "Meanwhile, Washtenaw County records show the Savoy owes $44,632.99 in back taxes for 2008 and 2009, including interest and penalties." Oy Vey! Ypsilanti oughta hold a workshop for all their bar-owners on "Paying Your Taxes 101". Seems another ones goes down every year for the same reasons...Call it the TC's Speakeasy Effect, or ElbowRoomitis.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

Unfortunately, the crew at Savoy is caught in the crossfire here. They came in to run Savoy as a separate venue under separate management. They took a venue that had been struggling both before and after the remodel and re branding, and have been steadily making it into one of the most successful clubs in the area. Too bad they got taken down with the ship. And just for clarity, Savoy didn't exist in 2008 or 2009, so it is the current management that led to the tax issue. And @Andy Jacobs, you have to be kidding me right? I'm with mostly with Cash, give me a break.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

If DTE's equipment was faulty how do they now know he owes anything?


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

This is so sad! I will miss the dueling pianos! This was one of the non-sketch areas of Ypsi. I hope they can some how negotiate.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

@Andy Jacobs: "They got out of paying the correct amount for a while due to malfunctioning equipment or whatever so congratulations on that windfall impromptu loan." Dave did not KNOW he was getting a loan! If you think this was a loan......don't you AGREE to take out loans? Or would you be willing to buy a product priced for less money and then a year or so later have them tell you the prices was triple....because they made a mistake? Is that a loan? Don't make it sound as though he should know how DTEs equipment works! How does he know that this faulty equipment properly measured the electric usage???? But as usual DTE doesn't have to prove anything. Dave Curtis is probably the nicest most honest guy you could ever know. My heart breaks for him. To survive in this economy is tough enough. When people are having the hardest time, there are always those who want to kick them when they are down. DTE makes mistakes? Too bad, they don't pay for their mistakes.... you do. I've read stories like this before but it has never been so raw and personal. These businesses were Dave's life. He worked day and night to make them in a success, investing in downtown Ypsi in spite of the naysayers. This is heartbreaking to see a man work his whole life and see his dream taken away by the likes of DTE.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:15 a.m.

This EXACT thing happened to me years ago during the holidays. I lived in a cold dark house with my son and a fire place for three months- DTE (Devils Take Everything) evil evil evil. So sorry for Ypsilanti.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

They got out of paying the correct amount for a while due to malfunctioning equipment or whatever so congratulations on that windfall impromptu loan. The service was rendered, the accounting issue was fixed & payment is now due. Maybe DTE already offered to split it up over 3 months or some kind of payments and this wasn't honored. The ultimate goal for DTE is to collect the fees and I think that chance is slim with these places out of business. If DTE can't collect then they can attribute this as a loss and incorporate it into an aggregated rate hike for everyone else since that's what the regulation allows. Utilities always get compensated one way or another.


Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:01 a.m.

Is there any legal action he can do? It sounds strange that DTE's equipment was at fault. I wonder just how low those errant bills were.