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The Amsterdam faces $56,000 lawsuit

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

A popular St. Pete hangout is being sued for failing to make payments on a loan. Owners of The Amsterdam on Central Avenue in the burgeoning Edge district owe $50,000 plus interest.

In April of 2013 owner John Cullen borrowed the money from his neighbors Buford and Patricia Simpson. In a Promissory Note filed along with the lawsuit, Cullen agreed to make annual payments of just more than $3,000 for seven years, with the remaining balance due at the end of that term.

The payments were set to begin on May 21 this year, however, according to the lawsuit, Cullen has failed to make a payment.

Cullen agreed to pay 6 percent interest on the loan. More than $56,000 is now owed. The now widowed Patricia Simpson is seeking full payment plus “reasonable” attorney’s fees.

The European-inspired bar opened in 2013. It features beer, wine and mead in an upscale, yet laid back, environment. In an article on published prior to the bar opening, The Amsterdam is described as “clubby, but not being a dive.”

The laid-back bar nestled along the round-about on Central Avenue is also dog friendly. The bar’s Facebook page says a special “Bowser Brown Ale Beer” is coming soon for dogs. It’s a non-alcoholic gravy-type beverage for bar-goers’ four-legged friends.

It’s unclear whether the bar is having financial trouble. The Amsterdam has frequent events like bacon contests and live music. It’s co-owned by Cullen’s partner, Zoie Torres.

Torres is not named in the lawsuit.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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