Mr. Zepeda was a popular morning radio host for WVKS-FM (92.5) until late last year when a Wood County grand jury indicted him in connection with the October, 2010, burglary of his former restaurant, Andrew Z's Sports Pizzeria, at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. He announced on his Facebook page yesterday that he would open a new restaurant at the East Toledo city-owned complex.
Dean Skillman, who holds the lease for the club Metropolis at The Docks, confirmed that he is in discussions with Mr. Zepeda to operate the pizzeria in that space on Thursday and Friday nights only. Metropolis is open Saturday nights only.
"He is going to be the operator and he is going to put in a live band karaoke," Mr. Skillman said. "We are trying to get some more business and revenue other than one day a week. Andrew Z is going to promote his concept and we are going to pay him based on if we make any profit."
Mr. Zepeda was charged last year with failing to pay sales tax and orchestrating a break-in at the pizzeria he formerly owned at Levis Commons in Perrysburg,
He avoided prosecution by pleading guilty to all of the charges against him -- complicity to breaking and entering, theft, and failure to remit sales tax -- and entering an intervention program for alcohol abuse. His Perrysburg location and a restaurant downtown both went out of business and closed.
Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry on Feb. 4 ordered Mr. Zepeda to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation at Behavioral Connections of Wood County and comply with the agency's recommendations. For the next two years, Mr. Zepeda is forbidden from consuming alcohol or frequenting bars and is to undergo random drug and alcohol testing. He was told he must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, obtain lawful employment, and have no contact with David Wright or his uncle Paul Zepeda, a co-defendant in the case. Paul Zepeda, who is charged with complicity to breaking and entering, allegedly drove Wright to the pizzeria the night of the break-in.
Judge Mayberry also ordered Mr. Zepeda to pay $40,882.32 to the state of Ohio for back sales tax.
Mr. Zepeda could face 6 to 18 months in prison for theft and failure to remit sales tax and 6 to 12 months for complicity to breaking and entering.
Mr. Skillman said he was unconcerned about Mr. Zepeda's criminal history.
Melissa Schiffel, an assistant Wood County prosecutor, said she had not been notified of Mr. Zepeda's business plans and couldn't comment on whether running a restaurant with a liquor license would violate the terms of his court-ordered intervention. Alcohol is served at Metropolis.
"Ultimately any determination of whether his probation is violated would be up to the probation department and up to the judge," Ms. Schiffel said.
Dean Monske, Toledo deputy mayor of external affairs, was unaware of Mr. Zepeda's plans to open within Metropolis, which has a 20-year lease.
The city is in the process of selling The Docks for $2.15 million to two Chinese investors who created a firm called Dashing Pacific Group, Ltd.
The spot where Metropolis is operated has been home to several failed restaurants
The building first housed the Hoster Brewing Co., then Gumbo's, and then Oasis on the River. In 2007, the Oasis on the River restaurant was open for just several months. Flaming Pit BBQ & Blues opened there in 2009 but closed not long after its grand opening.
Staff writer Jennifer Feehan contributed to this report.
Contact Ignazio Messina at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6171.