The "opening soon" banner that draped the wrought-iron fence in front of The Monocle last week is now gone. Phoenix's latest downtown bar and hangout may never open its doors.
On Monday, the owners filed a petition with the Arizona Corporation Commission to dissolve the business partnership. Tuesday, one of the listed partners, Arthur John Bachelier, had a court hearing regarding an accusation he had violated the terms of his probation, stemming from a 2013 conviction on sex charges.
Some time after Phoenix New Times broke the story about his troubled past and bumpy opening of a new bar at 816 North Third Street, the Facebook page and website registered to The Monocle were shut down.
Our attempt to reach the owners on the Gmail account listed for the website domain registration bounced back Wednesday. The sign is gone.
Bachelier, 32, is due back in Maricopa County Superior Court in late July to face the accusation by a probation officer that he tampered with his electronic ankle bracelet, among other possible violations. He pleaded guilty in October 2013 to felony charges of sex abuse, child abuse, and sexual conduct with a minor, according to Maricopa County Superior Court documents.
That landed the former nurse and deeply devout Christian in prison in Florence for 19 months, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. He was released in June 2015, and his conviction has plagued him ever since.
A national searchable online registry of nurses shows his license was revoked as a result. It also meant that he was disqualified from getting a liquor permit, under state law. “No license shall be issued to or renewed for any person who, within five years before application, has been convicted of a felony,” the relevant statute says.
The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control has no license application file from The Monocle. Nor is there any record of valid license tied to it, its address, or either of its owners listed in state business filings.
When asked, state and local liquor police could offer little more than a shrug. “At this point, it’s all hypothetical to us, until we get an application,” said Jeffery Trillo, the department’s assistant director of licensing and administration.
The liquor license task force in Phoenix also was unaware of The Monocle. All that is on file with the state and the city is an inactive license with the previous bar at 816 North Third Street, The Roosevelt Tavern, which has been closed since 2012.
Also, the last proprietor to seek city building permits was Matt's Tavern in 2006, according to a city of Phoenix searchable database of permit applications. It remains a mystery why Bachelier could not be found on a countywide sex offender registry kept by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Bachelier was ordered to register as part of his plea agreement.
Despite it all, until this week, The Monocle had been posting photos on Facebook showing progress of the makeover.
The polished hardwood floors, the new lawn, and the shiny stainless-steel beer taps all boast of an imminent opening of the business in the the historic-designated Farish House, a Colonial Revival-style brick home with Queen Anne details, and one of a dozen old houses from before 1910.
“The Monocle is an American-fusion full-scale restaurant and bar located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Our vintage atmosphere is inspired by the 1900s historic house we have made our home. We are led by a team that is passionate about food, beer, arts, and people. We strive to embody the spirit of adventure, exploration, and progress,” the website says.
Trillo said last week after he sent state investigators to the establishment, “the place is buttoned up tight. It looks vacant.” License holders have to demonstrate they are “capable, qualified, and reliable” to sell alcohol.
In 2013, Bachelier admitted in court that he fondled and forced intercourse and oral sex on his underage live-in sister-in-law. The girl told police her abuse occurred a few times a month in different houses, starting when she was 12 and continuing for six years, according to court records. His guilty plea didn’t just earn him a trip to Florence.
The judge ordered Bachelier to register as a sex offender, submit to a DNA sample, wear a GPS tracking device, and be placed on probation for life. It was his only criminal conviction in Arizona. He was 29 at the time.
There is no record that his listed partner has any criminal record. Phoenix New Times repeatedly tried to reach Bachelier, by sending a Facebook message to The Monocle's page, calling listed phone numbers, and contacting attorneys who have represented him.
He was not at the restaurant site, either, and now the registered email has bounced back as invalid. His listed partner, Gerald Lee Logan III, could not be reached for comment, but he told the Phoenix Business Journal in an email he wanted to clear up who owns the restaurant.
"As the sole owner, I would love to share openly the exciting concept," Logan wrote. "Arthur does not own the business and is acting as an employee or (responsible managing employee). There was some confusion on the ownership, which has been formally addressed with the state and Arizona Corporation Commission. Arthur has a great deal of kitchen experience and will help bring The Monocle, and the customers a great experience."
Articles of incorporation filed in April show both men as members in a "member-managed" limited liability partnership. Two signatures, Logan's and another that is illegible, appear on the paperwork to terminate that partnership.
The website and email are registered to Bachelier. On May 18, one week after The Monocle showed off the freshly sanded floors on its Facebook page, a probation officer wrote an unflattering report about Bachelier’s progress for the court.
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“This officer has reason to believe that the defendant has failed to comply with (several) terms of probation,” Adult Probation Officer Lytyson Sam wrote. The day before, Bachelier tampered with his electronic monitoring device and violated his probation terms by having alcohol on him, Sam told the court.
He also violated restrictions on internet access by getting a smartphone without prior approval. In 2016, he failed to show up for sex offender counseling, the court document alleged.
As a result, the probation department asked the court to revoke probation and to place a GPS on Bachelierrlier this month. A judge agreed.
Probation officers booked Bachelier into county jail, and released him the next day, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. He was released on a $500 bond.