Thursday, October 7, 2010

Marcel Black & Backyard Burger(s)?

Yesterday's column featured the almost unheard of deal the city of Muscle Shoals is giving to Zaxby's, a fast food eatery specializing in chicken. We've received several questions about this and will attempt to answer some of them.

Q. Does Marcel Black own Backyard Burger?

A. We find no connection between Mr. Black and the fast food chain. Research on the former Backyard Burger restaurants is made more difficult by some writers referring to it as "Backyard Burgers." Below is the official record for the chain. This does not mean that Mr. Black could not be connected to the business in some other way.

Q. Could Bojangles or some other chain stop this deal?

A. We would consider it doubtful. Bojangles, with corporate funds for co-op advertising, will not be as damaged by subsidized competition as the homegrown restaurants. Here's what one Muscle Shoals businessman has to say:

I'm a long time business owner in the city of Muscle Shoals and like many other local business owners, have struggled to stay open through a very difficult time for small business in a down economy. We have paid our electric, sewage, water bills to the city of Muscle shoals, Kept our license fees and taxes paid etc. So where do all us business owners who have helped foot the bills for many years for the city of M.S., go for a ZAXBY deal or any kind of assistance from the city government? Any fool (even a politican) can see the numbers on the ZAXBY deal don't work. So these people are either stupid or crooks, either way they have no business representing the people of Muscle Shoals. - "Don Matthews"

Q. Just what businesses is Marcel Black involved in with the City of Muscle Shoals?

A. If Mr. Black is not connected to Zaxby's this question would seem irrelevant to the issue, but a quick check shows that Mr. Black is listed with the State of Alabama as an agent with only two functioning entities, his law practice in partnership with Jimmy Hughston and North Alabama Abstract and Guaranty in which he is again partnered with Mr. Hughston.

The latter could conceivably be a broach of ethics since Mr. Black's law firm deals extensively in real estate transactions. We'll check with our legal eagle friends and get back with you on this.


The Connection should be up sometime this afternoon. The URL is:

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What's up with this: We questioned the finances at Sweetwater and were banned from their Facebook page; Larry Fisher questioned the finances at Sweetwater and was banned from their page; now Sheila Hill Colston has questioned Sweetwater's finances and has been banned. Anyone see a pattern here?