By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
But Brian Weymouth, a veteran Valley restaurant manager/sports-entertainment agent who has hobnobbed and done business with those men, succeeded in doing just that.
Weymouth, who is 53 and lives in Paradise Valley, is in serious trouble with the law, currently facing six felony charges, including theft, forgery, and trafficking in stolen property. A county grand jury indicted the onetime Arizona State University pitcher last October 26. He was freed from jail in lieu of $25,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty.
The case stems from an incident in November 2010, when Weymouth and some associates allegedly stole more than $100,000 in equipment from a failed Mesa emporium named after the legendary boxing champ — Julio Cesar Chavez Campeones Restaurant — that Weymouth partially had owned. (He is the only person who was charged.)
"He is a man who does not do what he says he promises he will do," Chavez tells New Times through an interpreter, his Tijuana-based attorney, Zirael Jasso Colin. "He is a man to run from, before he says a word and you start to believe his bullshit. He is as big of a con as I have ever known."
Speaking of being conned, those aware of the champ's saga know he lost millions of dollars in his heyday to notorious boxing promoter Don King. Chavez testified against his former boss in a mid-1990s insurance fraud trial that ended with King's acquittal.
Brian Weymouth also is accused of forging and falsifying documents filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission and Secretary of State's Office to make it appear that he, and not his former partners, owned the remaining equipment in the restaurant.
Actually, it belonged to a family trust set up by Weymouth's onetime partner, Wisconsin businessman Dan Wergin, who had funded the ambitious Mesa restaurant project for about $3 million.
The Wergin Family Trust had been leasing the equipment to the restaurant since it opened for business in November 2009. Weymouth, as a managing partner, had signed both the lease agreement and two subsequent check payments.
The sprawling site at South Country Club Drive near Southern Avenue easily could hold 2,000 people on a given night, and featured numerous large-screen TVs, a concert stage, a boxing ring and "museum" of Chavez-dominated fight memorabilia, a game arcade for kids, and full-service bar and restaurant.
Campeones was owned equally by Brian Weymouth and Dan Wergin, at 45 percent each. A third businessman, Brian O'Connor (who scaled Mount Everest and is the son of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor) controlled the remaining 10 percent.
Weymouth claimed to have an "exclusive" business relationship with Chavez and was supposed to be paying the iconic fighter from his own share of advance royalties, which were $12,000 a month until Campeones opened.
In turn, Chavez promised to make appearances at the club to attract his durable Latino fan base.
"I wasn't in great shape at the time," Chavez says, referring to highly publicized substance-abuse problems that led him into rehab (he says he's been clean for about a year and a half), "and I don't remember a lot of stuff. All I know is that I wasn't getting paid what I should have been."
Weymouth calls the previously unpublicized falling-out with Chavez and his ex-partners at Campeones a simple business dispute that never should have landed in criminal court. He faults bad luck and a cabal of high-powered enemies for his current legal and financial woes.
"I can't make a living in this town anymore because of all this," Weymouth says.
He claims that his rotten luck emanated from the Phoenix area's increasingly depressed economy and the anti-immigrant sentiment that enveloped the Valley with the advent of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's publicity-driven workplace raids and the subsequent flight of thousands of Latinos from Arizona.
Weymouth says the bad vibes against Hispanics pretty much doomed Campeones.
He also blames these "enemies," especially Brian O'Connor, a member of the sheriff's so-called advisory posse. Weymouth says Arpaio's investigators went after him criminally solely to pacify an angry O'Connor after the business partnership soured, and the money man whom O'Connor brought into the fold, Dan Wergin, lost everything he had put into the project — more than $3 million.
Weymouth attempted early last year to head off possible indictment, hiring Dennis Wilenchik, the onetime private attorney for Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, to urge the sheriff's new chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, to end the investigation.
But the effort by Wilenchik (who was involved in the 2007 arrests of this paper's owners on bogus criminal charges that later were dropped) failed. Instead, Weymouth was booked into a county jail in late October, his mug shot posted on the Internet for the world to see.
"I'm not a criminal," Weymouth told New Times in a January 9 phone call. "I'm a family guy with a great reputation that has been trashed by very greedy people.
"This story really should be about a guy from a powerful Arizona family, Brian O'Connor, who used both his mother's name and his connection to Arpaio to get a criminal investigation going because a business deal he put together went south. And it should be about a county prosecutor [Deputy County Attorney Maryann McKessey] who has it in for me personally, for whatever reason.