Fresno Developer Fires At Hagar

The developer of the failed Cabo Wabo Cantina in Fresno, Calif., is once again taking shots at Sammy Hagar in a top-dollar lawsuit over the club’s short run in the city.

The Cabo Wabo opened to much fanfare in August 2008 and shuttered just six months later, losing its licensing agreement with the Red Rocker amid reports of financial troubles at the sports and entertainment complex that housed the club.

Developer Milt Barbis’ suit, which seeks at least $100 million plus attorneys’ fees, alleges that relations quickly soured after his Fresno Rock Taco entered the agreement with Hagar and his Red Head Inc. in late 2006.

“For whatever reason, somebody made a decision somehow somewhere that they didn’t want that club in Fresno,” Barbis attorney Richard Hamlish told the Fresno Bee. “Whether that was Sammy Hagar, or whom, I don’t know.”

The suit reportedly characterizes Hagar as a micromanager who badgered Barbis over design, construction and even the placement of plants and trees outside the venue, leading to costly delays.

Hagar also allegedly had a problem with the club’s drink menu, asserting that Barbis would serve the beer and tequila he permitted, rather than the most profitable, “because I [expletive] said so. I’m a hall of fame rock star. I can do what I want.”

Hagar failed to appear at the cantina’s grand opening Aug. 28, 2008, over contract disputes but eventually played the venue in late October of that year for $28,000, the suit says.

Following the termination of the licensing agreement, Red Head Inc. filed suit against Fresno Rock Taco claiming Barbis’ mismanagement of the project had damaged Hagar’s reputation. The parties settled in court a few months later and Barbis filed for bankruptcy later that year.