Morning Call owner frustrated about losing City Park location after missing mandatory meeting

Morning Call owner frustrated about losing City Park location after missing mandatory meeting

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The beignet and coffee shop Morning Call lost their bid to keep their City Park location. Now owners are fighting back, saying they lost the bid because they were late to a meeting.

"Kind of in disbelief, a little shock. Really disappointed, feel unappreciated," Morning Call co-owner Bob Hennessy said.

Those are just some of the emotions Hennessy said he feels after finding out they lost the bid for their City Park location.

"We bid on our own spot, which we weren't too happy about, but we did and we won the bid, and on a technicality, they keep saying we didn't make a pre-bid meeting," Hennessy said.

City Park administration says that meeting was mandatory for all bidders.

"We did make the meeting, we were 15 minutes late and they knew we were coming. My brother got here, he's walking in, the meeting was adjourned very rapidly. It was the world's shortest meeting," Hennessy said.

"Well that's not exactly what happened. We had a mandatory pre-bid meeting when all the bidders knew far in advance, weeks in advance, about the meeting, and all the potential bidders came except for Morning Call," City Park CEO Robert Becker said.

Hennessy said they notified City Park administrators they were going to be late.

"I was on my way from the Northshore. My wife had a broken back. We screwed up, we should've been here at ten. They knew we were coming," Hennessy said.

Becker sees it differently.

"When we were about to start the meeting, and we noticed that they weren't there, we called them and said, 'Where are you? We have a mandatory meeting, where are you?' And they said, 'Oh we had forgotten about it. We had a different day on our calendar,'" Becker said.

Becker said that's why they went with their second-highest bidder, Cafe Du Monde.

"The purpose of a pre-bid meeting is to allow people to ask questions, and have you visited the premises, do you understand the bid specifications? So it's a very important meeting," Becker said.

Hennessy believes it's unfair for them to be disqualified based on a technicality.

"All the hard work we did here, my brother and I. Building it out, bringing this area back to life, came from really nothing when we were approached by City Park," Hennessy said.

Becker said business had been booming since Morning Call opened in 2012.

"So when we put out the bid specifications, we specifically were calling for a beignet and coffee shop," Becker said.

Hennessy said they will push back against the decision.

"I'm talking to some people and we're going to see what our options are, but you know we want to be in a place where they want us to be here, so we feel like they don't want us here," Hennessy said.

City Park said Morning Call has 60 days to wind up their operations before Cafe Du Monde transitions in.

Hennessy adds that if he's not able to keep the City Park location, he will look at multiple other ones.

Morning Call closed their shop in Metairie earlier this year.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.