|Updated: 6/22/2012 6:28 pm
||Published: 6/22/2012 6:03 pm
It's been roughly a month since Florida businessman Russell Glen Brannan announced plans to buy and reopen the TeePee Drive-In Theater in Sapulpa. But more and more questions and concerns over Glen's questionable past and current intentions have popped up.
On Friday, Glen agreed to a recorded interview over the phone with FOX23 News to answer some of those questions and concerns.
When one looks into some of the past business deals with other movie theaters across the country that Glen has been involved with, and how many of those deals ended badly, even Glen admits people have a right to question his motives.
"Do I have a shady past," Glen asked. "I'm not going to deny things that have happened to me. I'm not. I mean, Donald Trump has had things happen to him. He's filed bankruptcy."
That shady past includes business deals with numerous theaters that ended with accusations, including the Pioneer Theater in Falfurrias, Texas and the Sky View Drive-In in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. FOX23 News spoke with owners of both theaters, who claim Glen left them with unpaid bills and had questionable business practices.
"If I would be this really bad person that did all this scamming and this and this and this, I am sure I would have lost one lawsuit," Glen said. "No one can even produce a bill."
"I'm not trying to hide anything."
But some of the people he's approached in Sapulpa disagree.
Two of the volunteers, who have since backed out, claim Glen wouldn't put any of his own money toward repairs or deposits. They also claim Glen told them he had bought the TeePee property, when, in reality, he's still trying to lease it.
On Friday, Glen claimed he will soon install $225,000 worth of digital projector equipment at the site. But he offered no proof of the costs or his ability to install the equipment. He also admits he has never stepped foot in Sapulpa or seen the TeePee site in person.
Glen insisted he's had numerous successful theater ventures in the past, and said he co-owns at least six other theaters currently.
"There are some theaters I have, and I will not tell you...what they are," he said. "And I'm being honest with you, because I do have a financier that has seen all this stuff that we're a part of, and he wants nothing to do with it."
But Glen did admit that to an outside observer, knowing all of this, it would be hard not to be suspicious of him and his intentions.
"Yeah, it would. I don't discount you there. I will not sit there and say that. I've never tried to hide from this."
Even though Glen established his company as a not-for-profit to have volunteers donate money and materials and help clean up the site, he admitted he plans to change to a for-profit business after all the work is done. Yes, he insisted people have nothing to worry about.
"If you put your blood, sweat or tears in it, that theater's less likely to close and have a problem down the road because people have been pushing it. Do they have anything to fear of it? No."
Glen claimed he had worked out a deal to buy the TeePee property from the current owner, James Baccus, only to find out that there are more than $200,000 worth of liens against the property. Baccus is currently going through a divorce, which Glen said has greatly complicated the deal.
He forwarded email correspondence with Baccus that show an agreement that would allow Glen to lease the property for several months, and then buy it for $175,000 at the end of the year, or when the divorce is finalized. However, that agreement would have to be approved by Baccus' wife and her lawyer as part of the divorce.