LNO Past History News
Colleyville Theater Locked Up
|January 18, 2008 Colleyville, Texas
Movie Patrons with Tickets find doors locked.Colleyville’s Metro Cinema touted as the only 3D Imax in Tarrant County is on lock down
Brandon Bunn of Grapevine shown above, said he purchased online tickets a couple of days ago. “We came over a few days back and the movie we wanted to see was virtually sold out, the staff told us we could go online and purchase tickets. They told us the tickets could be used anytime.”Apparently Friday night the tickets were now a souvenir of Colleyville’s great theater experiment.In addition to the financial problems, LNO reported the owner of Metro Cinema has had a number of brushes with local law enforcement. LNO reported on December 23, 2007 the following:WILLIAM EDWARD BALDRIDGE, 42, of 5606 Stanford in Dallas. Colleyville PD – DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED With Open Alcohol Container. Arrested at 5655 Colleyville Boulevard at 1:02 AM on 12/15/07 by Officer Brian Thorne. Baldridge lists his occupation as Owner of Metro Cinema. His vehicle was not towed. Cash Bond; released at 1:05 PM on 12/15/07.
Baldridge was arrested on December 15, 2007 outside his theater.
Local News Only.com, “LNO” learned Friday morning that Metro Cinema’s software system had literally been repossed on Thursday afternoon around 3:50 pm. LNO attempted to reach the owner of the theater William Baldridge at his Trimark Realty office and his personal cell phone.
Trimark’s office said Baldridge would be in later however he did not return LNO’s call. Baldridge’s cell phone did not answer and announced the mailbox was full.
LNO reported on potential financial troubles of the theater in the following article:
MetroCinema in Colleyville
Chilling out at the Metro Cinema with fine films, dining, and cocktails may turn out to be as much of an illusion as what appeared on the screen… William Baldridge, the entrepreneur behind the theater spoke to LNO’s Editor saying; “The financial principals behind the theater are solid and continue to be committed.” LocalNewsOnly.com has learned troubling financial practices appear to have burdened the operations at the Metro Cinema theater in the past few months. Reports of employees having been issued paychecks that were bounced back with Insufficient Funds, often not once but multiple times over this summer and vendors who remain unpaid for services and products could be indicative of problems yet to surface. The owner of Metro Cinema, William E. Baldridge, is also President of TriMark Realty, a Dallas apartment redevelopment company. Trimark Realty has been in charge of employee check distributions for the theater and restaurant and is responsible for seeing the vendors are paid. According to reports given to LNO by angry parents, since at least May of 2007, the bounced checks became so prevalent that many employees would incur large fees trying to cash their hard earned paychecks, often falling behind on car or rent payments. When the youthful employees complained, frequently in tears, they were told to present the NSF checks by fax to TriMark, who would then reissue another check. Often the employees or their parents were unable to reach anyone at TriMark Realty or were brusquely treated when finally able to speak to the TriMark staff, according to numerous complaints received by LNO. There were additional comments that it was not infrequent for a week or more to pass before the replacement check was reissued to an employee. At least one vendor who agreed to speak with LNO this week has confirmed that restaurant invoices have been outstanding since May, 2007 for approximately $1,800. TriMark staff had agreed to pay the vendor the delinquent invoices on August 1st, but the vendor said the money has not yet been paid at press time. Baldridge was arrested for an incident with an employee at the theater on July 28th. Baldridge told LNO Editor, “Of course, on advice of counsel, I can not discuss the incident, however I know that the truth will come out and I hope not be convicted in the press before I can clear this up.” About the same time the financial difficulties were brewing, on July 28, 2007, Metro Cinema owner, William Baldridge was arrested for Assault Causes Bodily Injury in connection with an attack on his theater manager, Allen Martinez. Local News Only covered the arrest in an exclusive report on August 5, 2007: In that incident, about 7:30 PM, the Metro Cinema’s manager, Allen Martinez, 23, was assaulted by the theater owner, William Edward Baldridge, 42, after a dispute concerning whether Martinez, the victim, should have gone behind the cooking line without the Chef’s permission to check on a customer’s order. Martinez allegedly had responded to Baldridge’s original query about the rule infraction with a response that he would talk to Baldridge in a few minutes after taking care of the customer. At that point, Baldridge reportedly followed Martinez down the hallway, screaming for him to get his things, while hitting him several times with his fists. Shocked patrons called 911, and police and EMTs found Martinez in the Metro Cinema office “pretty badly beaten”. Baldridge had already exited the theater area. Allen Martinez was treated at the scene but declined to be transported to the hospital. Martinez, who resides in The Colony, reportedly did seek treatment with his own doctor. The Tarrant County District Attorney has accepted the charge filed by Colleyville Police against Baldridge. Other worrisome consequences could involve the City, if Metro Cinema suffers. When originally pitched by William Baldridge, the prospect of a high-end luxury venue, with six theaters including the IMAX and Indigo Grill, the City of Colleyville was very receptive to offering up the proposed tax incentives. According to the Economic Development Department, the City had approved $1.12 million in TIF incentives to be split about equally between the theater and the Town Center retail development over a 10 year span, to be financed by sales tax receipts generated by the project. Charles Hodges of Melvin & Martindale, the Town Center developer, told the Dallas Business Journal in July of 2005, that Baldridge had signed an agreement with an undisclosed Los Angeles film distribution and operating company for the films. Additionally, IMAX was to receive a reimbursement grant of up to $100,000 for funds spent to promote educational films by the local school districts. Baldridge told LNO’s Editor that the concept of the theater remains very popular with his customers and that the business is growing. Baldridge said that he was somewhat overwhelmed by a business that is open from 8am until 2am everyday. Baldridge said the theater has made changes since it opened to respond to the customer’s interest. “We no long serve steak in the theater because our patrons told us they would rather not deal with a steak in the darkness of the movie, they prefer burgers and similar fare,” said Baldridge. Baldrige said that he would deny or confirm any of the facts in the article prepared by LNO’s Linda Baker. He said that if the theater were in Dallas probably no one would even have mentioned the recent events, however, Baldridge said, “After all Colleyville is still a small town and , while is is a great location to do business, perhaps we have a higher attention level than if we were in a big city.”