Rumors disputed by city, business owner

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — Rumors cropped up this month about a new lease agreement between the city of Piqua and Mulligan’s Pub that was signed back in late April and early May of 2015. According to the lease agreement, Mulligan’s is paying back $13,500 in outstanding utility bills, but it was not an inability to pay those bills that caused them to them to become outstanding.

“The square footage was incorrect,” Jeff Cotner, owner of Mulligan’s Pub, explained about the utility bills.

According to both Cotner and the city of Piqua, the city was overcharging Cotner on his utility bills. This was due to the city having an incorrect amount of square footage on the utility bills for Mulligan’s Pub.

“It wasn’t a lack of me not paying,” Cotner said.

“He was correct,” Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said, confirming Cotner’s statements about his utility bills.

Both the city and Cotner decided to hold off on making payments for the utility bills until the correct payments could be determined.

Cotner explained that he first brought up the issue to Bill Murphy, former economic development director for the city of Piqua. According to Cotner, the utility payments quickly added up during the city’s transition period from Bill Murphy to Justin Sommer, who is Piqua’s current economic development director.

According to the new lease agreement, Cotner must make payments of at least $2,250.56 to make up for the time when the city was re-evaluating the utility bills for Mulligan’s Pub. Cotner has decided to pay more than what is required.

“I actually pay them $2,500,” Cotner said. “I pay them more than I’m supposed to just to get that taken care of.”

According to Huff, Cotner is quickly making up the difference now that the correct utility payments have been determined.

For Mulligan’s Pub, the new lease agreement was not an issue of preferential treatment, which was the idea of such that spurred on the negative rumors behind the lease agreement.

“It was a square footage issue is all it was,” Cotner said.

Both Cotner and Huff agreed that having Mulligan’s Pub occupy that space has been beneficial to Piqua.

“They’re booked every week with events,” Cotner said about the Fort Piqua Plaza. About the space where Mulligan’s Pub is located, Cotner added, “It sat empty for a year.”

“They seem to be doing very well and providing a good service to the community,” Huff said.

For a brief period between September and November of 2013, Mulligan’s Pub closed. Cotner explained that was due to Cotner not being satisfied with the product that Mulligan’s Pub was putting out. Since then, Mulligan’s Pub has gone with “an alternative plan that has worked out fantastic,” Cotner explained.

As for the negative rumors surrounding Mulligan’s Pub, those have not been as satisfying.

“It’s extremely dissatisfying that he would try to hurt my business in any way,” Cotner said about an unnamed individual behind the negative rumors surrounding the new lease agreement between the city and Mulligan’s Pub.

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall