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Partners sue co-owner of popular Salt Lake City bar

Kirk Bengtzen
Posted at 11:20 AM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 13:20:55-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The majority owner of the popular Twist Bar & Bistro in Salt Lake City is being sued by his partners over mismanagement and alleged inappropriate conduct, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

READ: Utah sets exit date for mask mandates

A lawsuit was filed against Kirk Bengtzen, who manages the operations of Twist, by co-owners Todd Wilcox and Popelka.

Wilcox and Popelka say Bengtzen has become "increasingly secretive" about their business dealings, accusing him, among other things, of signing a lease in the bar's name to build a dance club in the basement.

The lawsuit says Bengtzen hired a general contractor to build the club who refused to obtain permits for the construction. Because of the alleged negligence, a cease-and-desist order was issued by Salt Lake City.

Bengtzen's co-owners also accuse him of transferring more than $140,000 from business bank accounts to his own accounts. Wilcox and Popelka also say their partner took cover charge cash handed over by customers.

Apart from the financial accusations, Wilcox and Popelka say they received complaints from Twist employees that Bengtzen had made “inappropriate sexual talk and, in some cases, made inappropriate sexual contact with them.”

The report says Wilcox and Popelka own 30 percent and 10 percent of the bar, respectively.

Bengtzen has been the leader of the fight against restrictions and curfews placed on Utah businesses during the pandemic.

Last week, Twist was one of five Salt Lake County establishments issued Notices of Violation & Orders of Restriction after failing to follow COVID-19 regulations. The bar was allowed to open after submitting plans to adhere to the regulations.