Michele Lee 
Member since Aug 28, 2013


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Recent Comments

Re: “Grease Box, Phat Beets, and the ‘G’ Word

The vendors at the former XRoads Café displaced themselves. They are no longer there because they did not pay what was necessary to keep the space solvent, nor did they want to maintain the space, get the necessary permits and licensing, insurance and stay on top of what was needed. YOU KNOW THIS IS THE TRUTH! People did not want to contribute equitably (including Phat Beets) as should happen in a cooperative or collective, to keep the space solvent and compliant on every level. This has nothing to do with GreaseBox, so stop making them the easy scapegoat that fits into your gentrification party line.

19 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Michele Lee on 08/31/2013 at 7:19 PM

Re: “Grease Box, Phat Beets, and the ‘G’ Word

To Max and Phat Beets: Lizzie and Michele suggested we do professional mediation a while ago so all of this can be addressed and resolved. That offer is still on the table and I think will be most productive.

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Michele Lee on 08/30/2013 at 8:02 PM

Re: “Grease Box, Phat Beets, and the ‘G’ Word

Correction -- made $1000 their last week and did not reveal how much was made during their entire stay.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michele Lee on 08/30/2013 at 11:25 AM

Re: “Grease Box, Phat Beets, and the ‘G’ Word

Again misinformation. The family in this video used the cafe to make money for almost a month, made over $1,000.00 and only paid $30.00 toward rent, expenses and everything. I tried for weeks to get more. So who is being displaced and exploited. This was the problem. If you're going to tell a story, tell the whole truth. Where can you go and do business for a month and pay only $30.00. There is always two sides to a coin -- here is the information!

13 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Michele Lee on 08/30/2013 at 11:08 AM

Re: “Grease Box, Phat Beets, and the ‘G’ Word

To Alan Reid: I am the primary leaseholder. I am a Black woman and an historically black resident of Oakland. Leon Dockery, a Black man and the person who built out the space was also a collective member. We are not rich or privileged and neither is Lizzy Boelter owner of Greasebox. Our original intentions were to create jobs for ourselves and the community but too much of the financial burden and liability and permitting, etc. fell on our shoulders inequitably. Instead of helping us to not fall on our faces financially and be in default of the lease, Phat Beets and the other collective members who made their last contribution on March 1, 2013 decided to watch and see what will happen -- and none of those collective members are historically black or longterm residents of Oakland. Hhhhmm there's a huge contradiction in the community effort to me.

21 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Michele Lee on 08/28/2013 at 7:46 PM

Re: “Grease Box, Phat Beets, and the ‘G’ Word

Thank you Luke for writing this article and I appreciate all the people who have commented about Crossroads, Phat Beets and GreaseBox. It's been an interesting and challenging journey with the best intentions. Could have worked if there were the right combination of folks who would agree to share in the financial responsibility, labor and liability equitably. Anyone who has run a restaurant or business knows that there is a lot of responsibility and liability and it ain't easy. I've learned a lot. Some people in the collective misrepresented their skills and knowledge re: running a restaurant. I think we were all naïve. Re: Kate's comment, there are pieces of the story that have been left out because it's complicated and layered. Also Kate you are incorrect in saying that Phat Beets and the former original collective members presented a proposal that was rejected to buy out the lease. First, it's not easy to buy-out a commercial lease once you sign and second, Phat Beets never presented a proposal, but only talked about it. Phat Beets and some of the former collective members watched as me, the leaseholder, struggled to keep the space afloat and my own life and family for several months but especially the last three. I asked for help consistently in paying the overruns that everyone using the space created -- did not happen. The former collective members continued to use the space well after their last payment on March 1, 2013, up until mid-July 2013 without contributing anything. This was our agreement to begin paying them back for what they contributed. Phat Beets did pay their portion of the rent on time, which was a small percentage of the total expenses as the original business model was flawed and no one was willing to readjust to meet expenses even though it was written in the contracts. They did bring a consumer base and also helped tremendously with outreach. Nonetheless, the bills have to be paid, the permits need to be current, the health department regulations need to be complied with, the insurance needs to be adequate, the master lease needs to be complied with, the neighborhood needs community building, the city of Oakland needs a liaison, etc. etc. etc. This unfortunate chain of events that resulted in the demise of XRoads could have been avoided if folks using the space just paid the bills and kept it clean and in compliance. Greasebox is not the "bad guy" or "bad gal" here. Thanks for reading and being concerned. I'll continue to comment and answer questions. Michele

21 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Michele Lee on 08/28/2013 at 7:29 PM

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