EXCLUSIVE: Coffee Company CEO Says Avenatti Owes Him $110K — And Bank Records Appear To Support The Claim

Peter Hasson & Joe Simonson | Contributor
  • Michael Avenatti owes Dillanos Coffee $110,000 for unpaid bills, the company’s CEO claims.
  • Records reviewed by TheDCNF show a series of bounced checks from Avenatti’s company to Dillanos.
  • Avenatti denied owing anything to Dillanos, but records reviewed by TheDCNF appear to undermine parts of his story.

Left-wing attorney and potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Avenatti is again facing accusations of unpaid debts, this time from the owner of the Washington state-based company Dillanos Coffee.

Avenatti owes Dillanos $110,000 and has refused to pay up, according to Dillanos founder and CEO David Morris.

Avenatti has repeatedly denied owing Dillanos anything, but bank records and other related documents Dillanos’ attorney provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation appear to undermine what Avenatti previously said about the dispute.

Morris first said on May 9 that Avenatti owed him $160,000 for unpaid debts related to Avenatti’s ownership and management of Tully’s Coffee, a financially insecure Seattle coffee chain that shuttered all of its locations earlier this year.

Avenatti’s company used Dillanos as a coffee supplier, but failed to pay its bills, Morris said at the time.

Avenatti denied owing Dillanos anything, but Morris announced the next day, May 10, that he had “worked out an arrangement” with the celebrity lawyer.

Avenatti transferred $50,000 to Dillanos the same day, bank records reviewed by TheDCNF show. Morris claims Avenatti still owes Dillanos the remaining $110,000.

Attorney Michael Avenatti joins protesters outside the White House in Washington, U.S. July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert.

TheDCNF reviewed a screenshot of a successful June 15 wire transfer of $110,000. Dillanos’ attorney said Avenatti sent the screenshot as evidence of payment, but documents reviewed by TheDCNF showed that the money never reached Dillanos’ bank account.

The Dillanos attorney informed Avenatti on July 30 that the six-figure payment he guaranteed never came through, those documents show.

Five months of bank statements reviewed by TheDCNF show that after the May 10 payment and through the end of September, the most recent month available, Dillanos did not receive any wire transfers from Avenatti, much less the $110,000 supposed to arrive on June 15.

Other documents reviewed by TheDCNF show that Global Baristas US LLC, Tully’s parent company under Avenatti, bounced five checks written out to Dillanos between August 2017 and January 2018. The five bounced checks added up to approximately $150,000.

Washington state records reviewed by TheDCNF show that Global Baristas US LLC is controlled by the similarly named Global Baristas LLC, which in turn is still controlled by Avenatti.

“We have still not received $110,161 of the balance that @michaelavenatti owes us. So for all the extra work our staff has done while dealing with Michael & Tully’s, we will give half the money to our 80 employees if he pays,” Morris wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Who thinks he should make good on his commitment?”

Morris declined to comment beyond what he wrote on social media.

Avenatti, who is known for taking an aggressive approach toward critics, again denied owing Dillanos any money.

The attorney told TheDCNF in a text message that the debt “was paid long ago by the company, which I no longer own and have no responsibility for.”

He declined to answer follow-up questions on why he made the $50,000 payment to Dillanos in July after previously denying owing anything to the coffee company.

Avenatti added: “David Morris is a fraud who defrauded money from Tully’s employees and is liable to them and their families for hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He did not provide any additional details to TheDCNF upon request.

Avenatti’s dispute with Dillanos is just the latest in a series of controversies related to his ownership and management of Tully’s.

Avenatti first purchased Tully’s in 2013 after going into business with actor Patrick Dempsey. The pair purchased the coffee chain through Global Baristas LLC, closing the deal on June 30, 2013.

Dempsey sued Avenatti less than two months later.

“My decision to become a member and manager of Global Baristas was based, in part, on Michael Avenatti’s representation that he would provide both the capital to fund the entire Tully’s acquisition and sufficient working capital to allow Global Baristas to operate the Tully’s Coffee stores once the acquisition was completed,” Dempsey said in an Aug. 20, 2013, affidavit.

“Michael Avenatti never notified me that he intended to have or caused Global Baristas to borrow $2,000,000 for working capital, nor did he notify me that he planned to have or caused the company to pledge substantially all, if not all, of its assets to secure any loan,” Dempsey said.

Avenatti denied the accusations, but agreed to a settlement three days later.

A Seattle attorney representing several Tully’s vendors, David Nold, filed a complaint against Avenatti with the California State Bar on March 26 accusing him of fraud.

“In essence, he bought a company out of bankruptcy and then used it for a ‘pump and dump’ scheme to deprive federal and state taxing authorities of millions of dollars,” Nold claimed. Avenatti denied that allegation.

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon)

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 20: Michael Avenatti speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon)

Morris isn’t the only person claiming Avenatti owes him money.

A California judge ordered Avenatti on Oct. 22 to pay $4.85 million to his former law partner. That same day, Avenatti’s law firm was evicted from its California office in a separate case.

In 2017, a Washington state court ordered two companies controlled by Avenatti to pay $126,000 to a former employee who said she was fired for becoming pregnant. Avenatti’s company still has not paid the woman her money.

Avenatti first shot to political stardom as the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against President Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Daniels claims she was paid $130,000 to stay quiet about an affair she says she had with Trump, which the president has denied. (RELATED: Grassley Refers Avenatti And His Client To DOJ Over Kavanaugh Claims)

Avenatti has faced a series of challenges just in the last few months.

Beyond the multi-million dollar judgement ruled against him in October, the Senate Judiciary Committee submitted a criminal referral on Oct. 25 against Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick, who made salacious, but unsupported accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, charged the pair with providing false statements, obstructing congressional investigations and conspiracy. The committee filed a second criminal referral against Avenatti the next day.

Still, Avenatti has support from some prominent Democrats. A report on Monday uncovered that a series of former advisers to Bill and Hillary Clinton were lining up behind Avenatti as a potential 2020 presidential candidate.

“You must really be worried,” Avenatti told TheDCNF at the time.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

Follow Simonson on Twitter @SaysSimonson

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