Where's Baldi? Bel Rio closes, owner vanishes

dish-baldiBel Rio owner Jim Baldi. FILE PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR

Bel Rio, the Downtown Belmont restaurant and music venue that has sparked a passionate debate over noise-levels at night spots–-which led to an amended City noise ordinance–-appears to have disappeared, along with its owner, without a sound.

A sign on Bel Rio’s door last week announced that the venue would be closed for two weeks for vacation and kitchen renovations, but that was news to building owner Jeff Easter.

“I still haven’t heard from him,” says Easter of Bel Rio owner Jim Baldi. “I think he’s gone.”

Easter, a critic of the proposed 55db noise ordinance, which he believes is too low, nonetheless asked Baldi to tone it down following a July 3 incident after a private party at the restaurant during which there were altercations in the street, the police were called, and several people resisted arrest. Indeed, Tomas Rahal at MAS says that customers of his were afraid to leave the restaurant to go to their cars that night.

“When you have people screaming and yelling at 2:30 in the morning,” says Easter, “that’s a nuisance."

Indeed, while musicians, Belmont residents, and City officials earnestly debated the noise ordinance, and whether or not Bel Rio’s late night music scene was a boon or bust for the neighborhood, Baldi seemed to be staking his success, at least in part, on late night parties.

"Jim said he couldn’t make it without the private parties," says Easter. "I told him that’s not my problem.”

Baldi partnered with C&O’s Dave Simpson and Gareth Weldon to open Bel Rio in November 2008, but Simpson sold his interest in the restaurant to Baldi in October of last year after having second thoughts about the partnership.

Weldon, too, parted ways with Baldi, but he did not immediately respond to Dish’s call for comment by press time.

Meanwhile, no one seems to know where Baldi is–- or when he'll be back. Indeed, Dish spent most of last week trying to locate him with no success.

Local realtor Roger Voisinet, whom Baldi hired to sell his house at 900 Elliott Avenue, says Baldi contacted him last Tuesday via text message, saying he was going to Chicago and giving him his ex-wife’s phone number if anything came up concerning the house.

“I texted him back,” says Voisinet, “but I haven’t heard from him.”

When Dish called Baldi’s ex-wife, a family member answered the phone, but he refused to comment on Baldi’s whereabouts. “We’re not really speaking to anyone now,” he said.

Lex Gibson, who recently bought the assets of Baldi's other restaurant,  L7 (formerly Cantina) on Elliewood Avenue, says she's also curious to know where her former boss might have gone.

“I started managing here a month and a half ago,” says Gibson, 24, who also worked at Bel Rio for a time. “And then Jim offered me the restaurant for sale. It was very sudden.”

Gibson says Alcoholic Beverage Control agents showed up last week and asked her to surrender her liquor license, which was in Baldi’s name. Easter, too, was asked by ABC agents to surrender Baldi’s license for Bel Rio. Agents told him it was being suspended for “inactivity.”

belrio-exteriorBel Rio caused a ruckus in Belmont, but it appears the restaurant is no more. PHOTO FROM BEL RIO FACEBOOK

Area ABC spokesperson Roger Stevens says that agents were responding to complaints from neighbors about noise at Bel Rio, and that Gibson and Easter surrendered the licenses “voluntarily.” Unprompted, Stevens said he couldn’t comment on any “pending investigation.”

Baldi, who was also a local accountant who did the books for many area restaurants, appears to have faced business difficulties before.

According to records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, he was barred last August from performing financial services for failing to provide information requested by the Authority.

An authority spokesperson could not immediately offer further details, but says such barring is permanent, although it can be appealed for up to 30 days.

Baldi also appears to have vanished with one of Bel Rio’s bartenders, Kristian Throckmorton, who sources say had been seen frequently with Baldi in recent weeks. Voisinet says he's heard from several people also concerned about the young woman, who is 25, according to her myspace page. Dish was unable to reach Throckmorton, and her mother declined comment on her whereabouts.

While Simpson says he has no idea why Baldi has disappeared, he’s not surprised that Bel Rio had its difficulties.

“Bel Rio was a terrible misstep for me,” says Simpson, pointing out that it violated several cornerstones of his own business principals: don’t work in partnerships, own rather than rent real estate, and stay away from music clubs.

In the 1980’s Simpson launched the popular C&O Night Club, and while he says it was “an enormous amount of fun and was a center for warmth, fellowship, swinging nights of dancing and music,” it could have hardly been considered a sound business model.

Against his better judgment, Simpson says he thought the Belmont neighborhood was poised and willing to embrace a music venue. Plus, Weldon and Baldi worked him hard. Back in 2008, Weldon said he used what he called "gentle pressure continuously applied" to convince Simpson it could work.

But after a short time, says Simpson, it became clear that the concept was not being welcomed.

“After 30 years at the C&O feeling like everybody’s darling, I found the bad guy role I was suddenly cast in untenable,” says Simpson. “And I’ll take the time to apologize to the people in Belmont who found this enterprise a nuisance while I was involved.”

Meanwhile, with Baldi and Throckmorton unreachable, Easter says there’s been plenty of interest in the Bel Rio space. Since there’s a working kitchen, he says, the most likely new tenant–- if Baldi doesn't soon return–- will be a restaurant.

“But they’re family restaurant concepts,” he says, “So I don’t think the noise will be an issue anymore.”

This story is a part of the The Jim Baldi story special.


and isn't that THE PIRATE SHIRT from that Seinfeld episode?

@Cville Eye,
As I don't live in the zone, no I was not part of that process. but I know neighbors were, and I know they voiced concerns. As often is the case, the agenda of what certain people in the City want is what ends up on the paper.

For example, how the Pavilion was planned and started, and what actually happened, were two different things. I did speak up on that.

"Simpson doesn’t have to look out for your interests - he should look out for his business interests since he has invested money in it. And, no, he’s not responsible for walking around a neighborhood asking people can he do with the property what it is zoned for."

See, there's that 'make me ,have to' attitude again that only makes my point. If that's how you really feel, then any apology is worthless because you never really cared anyways.

Successful endeavors public or private, rely upon a large amount of understood co-operation and civilities between the multiple players. If you ever see those missing in a company, you are seeing a company in decline. Same with a neighborhood. In the case of this Belmont NCC district, the people who live there most certainly are players, and will be some of your greatest assets if you take them and their wishes into account. They can sell you and advertise you as quickly as they can d@#$% you.

Spending all your time saying 'make me' isn't going to make your business better or the neighborhood better in the long run. You'll waste a lot of energy that should be spent improving your product.

I'm sorry this part seems to elude you. You aren't alone. It really is one way we can demonstrate that our country is in decline. The attitude of so many of Bel Rio's patrons towards folks who just want to get a night of sleep speaks volumes.

I know Simpson didn't intend for things to go this way, but there it is.

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Dave fan, if you have been reading the Hook commentary, you would know that Old Timer didn't really have anything nice to say about Baldi or the noise.

However, I think you will find most of the residents affected aren't in the mood at this point to hear a bunch of late apologies from people who were responsible for starting something like that up either. They also aren't going to want to hear a bunch of promises from someone who supposedly no longer has anything to do with the establishment.

Tomas Rahal stood up over it, and I think if he were really sorry, he could have stood up in public long before over curbing the excess, but he didn't.

None of which has anything to do with whether or not I think the C&O is well run.

@hit girl, "freedom of speech" describes a facet of the relationship between government and individuals not newspapers and individuals. Otherwise, people would be able to get their ads printed for free.

I don't believe the article accuses this handsome gentleman of any wrong doing -but there are a few unanswered questions, where is he and why can no one locate him; when will the restaurant reopen, if ever; was there any wrong doing ? Still don't think any of us know the answers.

@Big Dog

"Any anonymous poster who belittles him is an ignorant coward."

And you, of course, with your anonymous name are of course super brave, and not a coward?

Gotta love the hypocrites.

David Simpson is one of the great class acts of our small town. I've known him for 30+ years. He picked up the C&O when Sandy ran out of gas. Any anonymous poster who belittles him is an ignorant coward.

Bel Rio was indeed a lovely spot when Dave S. was involved.

Oh dearest Baldi! How we will all miss those cheap Italian suits and your affected cosmopolitan airs!

Go figure..I didn't really say anything not alluded to by others, but I've made censorious comments before about the ethics of people involved in the restaurant biz around here and had at least one prior post deleted. Since I never name names or use profanity I have to assume that management at the hook must have some sensitivity to what I say. But Hit Girl covered all of my points in less objective language and I must say I'm mystified why that post stayed and mine got deep sixed. Her post was better than mine anyhow because it had the personal experience touch mine lacked.


.................and this is a surprise...........becuase......???

@old timer, there is no "right" or "ethical" in this situation. It is a quesion of zoning. Where were you standing up when the NCC zoning was defined? Why didn't you say something then? Children sit around hoping that the government will do the "right thing" and take care of their interests. You (and others) were asleep at the wheel. So, if you're looking for someone to blame about that music at night, don't look in Simpson's direction - look in the mirror. You may be old but I hope this incident has helped you become a mature citizen of Cville.
Have you checked out the language in the recently proposed ordinance concerning restaurants. Does the new proposal cover dance halls and night clubs (a place that sells food and play music and maybe let people dance)? Simpson doesn't have to look out for your interests - he should look out for his business interests since he has invested money in it. And, no, he's not responsible for walking around a neighborhood asking people can he do with the property what it is zoned for.

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I personally will miss BR and the "mature" women with their ââ?¬Å?pole” dancing against support pillars, "lap" dancing with their male companions, and going on stage to sing with the featured band. I'll also miss tipsy ladies mooning us with low riders as they sit in barstools and then later topplling out of them while takeing out a few other stools. Ahh, the memories.

No crime No warrant definitely a lot of dumb women. And since you bring his kids into it they are fine. (Classy) Ya know a guy just lost his business here so he splits town with his new girl. Can't say I blame him from the whiners and biatches commenting here. He has done nothing wrong again NO CRIME NO IRS NO Missing persons NOTHING. Sounds like a lot of jealous females to me maybe one or two at the hook.

"Vanished" can mean vanished as in seriously missing and possibly dead, or it can mean vanished as in comically laying low. Unless there's an official police look-out for these two people, I assume this is being said jokingly.

The article said: "Baldi also appears to have vanished with one of Bel Rio’s bartenders, Kristian Throckmorton, who sources say had been seen frequently with Baldi in recent weeks. Voisinet says he’s heard from several people also concerned about the young woman, who is 25, according to her myspace page. Dish was unable to reach Throckmorton, and her mother declined comment on her whereabouts."

So Baldin owns "Virginia Payroll"? Is he a CPA?

more likely, 10 years from now he'll still have another 10 to 15 to serve.

no one is alleging kristian was involved in fraud or embezzlement. if she turns herself in and gives him up, could she still avoid prison? he must be wondering.

They ought to lock him up for wearing those UPS driver trousers in the photo!

Dreaming of Jim wherever you are.....

An interesting poetic interpretation of how it may have all played out, which points out the corrupting influences impinging on the restaurant "owner". The party atmosphere, the "large frog small pond" ego strokes, access to pretty young women ordinarily out of reach for the same man working a normal job, control of an unregulated cash flow easily diverted, and access to drugs (often provided free or discounted by the social suck-ups wanting to be seen as "friends" of "the boss"). All of these can lead a person astray, but not without the underlying character flaws, though it must be said many people have those flaws,being after all only "poor pitiful mortals".
I've often thought if I wanted to destroy a person, I'd set him up running a club. Those the Gods want to destroy, they first attack their minds.

I imagine he was a hard-working young boy who was brought low by the frivolities of the moneyed classes. Clearly he once ran a thriving CPA business, holding up the righteous flag of accounting sheets, until finally, beaten away year after year by the freshets of Cville silliness and endless equine wealth & academic pretension, the good solid bedrock was exposed, and eroded. What man could resist the temptations, once he was running his own bar, ruling with a gimlet eye all the corruptions of the flesh, and the noise, the noise! You think it was bad for the neighbors, the generations-old people who had endured the industrial machinery of the workshops that built Charlottesville, oh sure, but what of Baldi? The noise drove him out of his own senses without him even knowing it. Now deafened by it and enthroned on a bar mat, all the reasons and rules of his numeracy fell away and his mind ran as an inchoate animal, judged only by Bacchus and Adonis.

Restaurants go out of business in towns everyone, such as Charlottesville, and the bartenders, waiters, waitresses, and cooks move from one restaurant to another, don't they?
Anyone know which restaurant these employees are going to!

fu, you are right. I should have said I will not consider Mr Baldi as a 'suspect' for a crime. When found guilty, then I will consider him as being guilty.

Countries with formal processes that see people as guilty until proven innocent would be places like the UK and France. Maybe that's where I live.

However, really obviously live in a place like Rwanda, where people can do whatever they want whenever they want, with or to whomever they want.....

I rest my case! Baldi now has formal charges in the way of a civil lawsuit. It's front page news today. He's pretty much called a thief and liar. And no matter what happens when the case finally makes it into the courtrooms, the outcome most likely will not be reported and placed on the front page unless the claims are proven.

If it turns out to be one big mistake and/or misunderstanding between business partners, it will NEVER make the front page of the newspaper. 10 years from now he will be be rememered as the dude who embezzled money from his partners.


@Hit Girl: What's the problem? 1. That he was looking at your bum? or 2. That he was "older"? What makes that so creepy? If he was young would it be cool?

1. Freedom of Glance --we're free to check your bum out, even if you're a "young girl".

2. Rights of the Elderly --don't discriminate against older people; they have libidos too.

I'm looking forward to the next issue of The Hook, when there might be something more interesting to comment on. :)

you ppl are all missing the point it is not vacation, he has VANISHED with a young lady who has a loving family worried very much about her where about's! If they are on vacation then why are there cell phones off? why havn't they contacted anyone about where there going or when they will be back? It is a very touchy subject with the family of the young woman!

former clients, former employees, and law enforcement are probably just asking a lot of questions around town about him because they're hoping for some really good dating advice?

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Caesonia in this country people certainly have the right to do whatever whenever and with whomever. I hope you understand that. I don't know what country you live in but here in the free world I can dang sure do whatever I please. I can say the government sux and practice whatever religion I want and if I want to skip town with my new young girl and not tell anyone guess what I can do that too. No laws against it ya know. I hope you understand all this it is part of what make this country great.

Looks like he had a reason to leave town.

I disagree with you guys and girls. A formal charge is a finding of guilt in 2010.... in the eyes of the people who see it in the media outlets. Ya see, when a person is charged with a crime, it appears on TV news for 48 hours and on the front page of the newspaper.

After the trial and the person is exonnerated, the various media outlets show and print nothing. Five years later the conversation goes something like this:

"Oh look Marge, there's that guy who stole the large screen TV at Best Products!"

"Is that him, Shirley? I knew his mother and father!"

"Yes, that's him! What a dummy! He had the money to buy it!"

"Yeah, I wonder what happened when he went to court!"

"I don't recall. I hope the judge gave him 6 months in jail!"

Once a formal charge is placed and published, you'll guilty in the eyes of many people FOREVER!

GSOE can't you shut up for one freakin' day? Get a job or somethin'.

Ever read Hamlet Gas?

"Player Queen:
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If once I be a widow, ever I be a wife!

Player King:
'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here a while,
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.

Player Queen:
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!

Madam, how like you this play?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

A bar is a bar, a grill is a grill, a lunch spot is a lunch spot, a dinner spot is a dinner spot, when did it all come down to smoking or drinking, it's keeping widows and divorcees out of all restaurants now every weekend. Enough is enough, they are ruining their own businesses. It seems women and men have to take up pipes and cigars again unless tobacco companies stop running restaurants in Virginia.

My bad- didn't see that it was an "ex"-wife. I withdraw my libelous comment.

If you move your posts to www.c-ville.com, I will also, ireadthehook. They don't terminate discussions there because they don't like some of the posts!

If you move your posts to http://www.c-ville.com, I will also, S Jones.

They don’t terminate discussions there because they don’t like some of the posts! I think readthehook.com only wants posts that are "comfortable."

I'm changing my name there to ireadcville from ireadthehook

Before I ever met Jim Baldi, I would see this dashing cosmopolitan looking gentleman, always dressed to the nines, long limbed twiggy tall blond in tow, strolling on the Mall, or gracing the tables of one of the more expensive restaurants, but never alone. Now perhaps, he's off with his new love in Paris or Rome, one can only imagine, falling in love all over again, and forgetting those he left behind.

Jim Baldi is a very good guy and I hope he and his girlfriend are very happy together -- wherever they are!

The BelRio I knew (a year or two ago when I was attending Sundays for Gypsy Jazz) was a different place with a cool, gentle scene and Dave greeted people at the door and represented it that way, imo. Back then, I heard talk about family music nights, but I guess there was a sea change

Old Timer,

I think you're being way unfair to Dave Simpson, a guy who has graciously run one of the better restaurants in town for 30 years...the guy is a class act. Like stuckinthemiddle said, the place had a calm, cool vibe when Simpson was involved. Plus, he sold his interest in the place last October, after realizing that it was a "terrible mistep," and it sounds like he didn't like the direction that Baldi wanted to take the business. I wonder...why isn't your gripe with Baldi? The burlesque shows, late night parties, people drunk in the street and causing trouble late at night...didn't that all happen under Baldi's watch? If anyone didn't care about the neighborhood, isn't it Baldi, who appears to have played you all before skipping town....

It seems to me the problem isn't really with the Mr Baldi or Mr Simpson. The problem is with big heads in city hall for allowing residential and commercial zones to be intermingled. Lots of short sightedness there. Just for some tax revenue.

@angel eyes,

I am inclined to agree. Your comments about the restaurant industry in general were spot on.

good clarification. it all sounded like he might have done something wrong or criminal. just on vacation with his girlfriend, back soon. good to know.

whew. it sounded like the cops were after him...an arrest like that would give womanizing and cheap italian suits a bad name forever.

irresponsible allegations. another good innocent guy done wrong by jealousy. guess romantik was right that we should all have been so lucky as she or got so lucky as he.

@Old Timer, "As often is the case, the agenda of what certain people in the City want is what ends up on the paper." Sadly, truer words have never been said. Yet we keep putting their lackeys in office.
To illustrate my point better, if I own a property zoned R-3 in Belmont, or in any other predominantly single family detached neighborhood, I would not feel obligated to talk with neighbors to get their permission to build a four-unit apartment building if I'm building it within code. Since there there was no issue of zoning, there are other restaurants in the vacinity, the building had previously been used as a restaurant and the landlord had no problem with my opening a restaurant, it would not make sense for me to contact neighbors before I opened the business. As a neighbor however I would be angrier with the landlords and I would still keep my eye on them.


I notice that any time someone suggests something like that for Belmont a lot of ridicule is heaped on their head from those who think that's not 'hip' enough for them. Only loud late night rowdy establishments are hip.

You are anti-business anti-music if you don't worship their little scene.

oh, whatwrngwthppl, please don't worry.

given the 25-year age disparity between him and this woman, he is old enough to be her father and already has experience as the father of teen, so he will probably take excellent paternal care of her. other commenters around her age say he has a lot of experience looking after young women in their early twenties, sometimes several at once. so, no problem.

and local business gossip alleges that he may have borrowed a considerable sum of money from client-friends for this trip, so if they have any minor mishap or need any small thing (maybe they forgot a toothbrush or accidentally left their gps-enabled cellphones at home) they at least have sufficient funds to cover unforseen expenses.

besides, most non-extradition-treaty countries are near the equator, so it will be warm weather for their vacation.

Oh My Vanished!!! My lordy Mercy Me! Let's get this straight. You are missing the point. Baldi does not want to be bothered or pestered by jealous women like byebyebaldi or prying newspaper people with not enought to write about. He is an adult. His willing female companion is an adult. They are free to do whatever they like whenever however and with whomever. ByeByebaldi you sure sound like a woman scourned to me. You keep chiming in with your bs trying to keep a man down. Did he steal your girl? Or did he break your heart? Still no new developments here. Still no crime no nothing. The headline for this story should read: "Man closes business splits town with new girl" Jealous townies snitch and moan because he has a pretty young girl with him. Wankers.

Apparently, there may be more to this story:
FBI looking into Jim Baldi case?

delete that. not funny.


"Caesonia in this country people certainly have the right to do whatever whenever and with whomever.

I think you should rethink that statement 'really'.

People do not have the right to do whatever with whomever. That's why people go to jail for child molestation, theft, murder, and abduction. They also can held liable financially for a number of civil failings.

That's here, in this country, right now. What country do you live in? Rwanda?

You are obviously very confused with what two consenting adults can do with each other - something I agree with - and people doing 'whatever they want'.

As for your insistence about no wrong doings, it is unusual for someone to go on vacation without telling anyone anything and miss meetings unless something very pressing causes them to do so. People will ask why, especially if the individual have been the subject of contention. With each passing day more comes out to indicate that it is less likely a vacation and more likely 'skipping town.


I do believe in innocent until proven guilty, so until I read of a formal charge, or see it in the news, I will not hold Mr Baldi guilty of any crime.

Time will tell.

A formal charge is not a finding of guilt, in this country, right now. What country do you live in? Rwanda?

Thanks for the link to the C'ville story about unpaid payroll taxes and Fed. taxes. Suggestions I made about these types of improprieties got one of my prior comments deleted. It appears to quack like a duck.
Flight probably seemed like a good idea, but the world has gotten awfully small and hiding places hard to find. He'll be back and the story will emerge.
Who still remembers "Chief" Gordon when he was the "Cock O' the walk", partner of one of the area's prestigious law firms 30 years ago, businessman, bon vivant, and general man about town? Greek tragedy is all about the downfall of such people. I think religion is silly stuff, yet the bible spawns all sorts of marvelous aphorisms such as : "Pride goeth before the fall".

GBSOE speaks an inconvenient truth about the way these things work. Witness teachers wrongly accused like the lady in Georgia recently acquitted after an agonizing legal ordeal during which her life itself might as well have been at stake given what the prosecution asked for. All a witch hunt with ginned up testimony from little kids based on heavy handed "indoctrinational" interrogations by cops and social workers.
She's acquitted of all charges. Will she ever teach again? I think we know the answer.

My My, imagine that won't you. Weldon has sued Baldi claiming among other things, "conversion".
Having seen this sort of thing happen repeatedly over the years, it just amazes me that anyone would ever "invest" in a restaurant venture without the checks and balances needed to ensure his investment doesn't just vanish.
I can recall another downtown restaurant venue, which unfortunately I cannot name, which went bust earlier in the past decade after the "owner" had diverted all the funds put up by investors (marks??) to his own personal uses. Once the dessicated husk of the business closed I liked to say that he lost a lot of money, but none of it was his. Jilted investors had no recourse due to a lack of assets held by the principal.
I wish Mr. Weldon all the best, but speculate that any judgment he gets will prove uncollectable. I'd even be bold enough to suggest the defendant won't even show up in court, hence allowing a default judgment, but he'll never collect a thin dime.

What? You mean to tell me a married man and local high-roller who spent so much time juggling multiple bimbos WASN'T the most ethical and trustworthy human being to handle other people's money?

Who knew?

More on the story, from the DP: Bel Rio owner accused of fraud in lawsuit

angel eyes, I saw the way your post was moderated, and I thought it was a bit premature. I knew some time ago there was more going on, from different conversations with different sources, both restaurant and authorities.

I don't like the way people say things that are patently untrue, or come close to libel with no thought,but I didn't think you were suggesting things that others haven't suggested before, from interactions. I felt there was enough public information out there indicating what you were saying.

My own interactions with Mr Baldi, infrequent as they were, would not give me any sort of confidence in him professionally, that's for sure. I for the life of me can not understand why some of these folks went in on a business venture with him, but I find it irritating that now Baldi is definitely out a few of those burned want to step up and say something.

Maybe if they had stood up earlier a lot of people wouldn't have had to go through so much, and they would still have their money.

GSOE makes a good point.

as Will Rogers used to say: "I only know what I read in the papers!"

Baldi can only hope that no man treats his teenage daughter the way he has treated the women in his life.

Missing my friend, hoping he's okay, and that he calls - "there is a friend that sticks close than a brother".

Cville is a seedy little place. What was said earlier on about ongoing exposure to louche types being corrosive is true. The best way to experience Cville is with a lot of money, easily come by, and some minority interests in various nocturnal ventures. Makes it a lot easier for an older dude to stay in the loop; everyone wants to befriend you. The problem is the damned gossip, which makes one want to leave town from time to time...

It seems there are some broken hearts right here on this blog. Maybe they didn't meet his standards for looks and are bitter, rather than just go and put on a nice dress and some make up.

So where is this Baldi guy anyway? I guess in the restaurant business, one thing leads to another............

i wonder if they have checked us customs and the border patrol?

so can hannah & andrew just move their stupid restaurant into belrio now?

The entire thing sounds a bit shady. Or Baldi. One of those two.

"Against his better judgment, Simpson says he thought the Belmont neighborhood was poised and willing to embrace a music venue."

Oh be quiet and take your knocks Simpson. If something is done against your better judgment, it means you agree to something that you think is a bad idea. It sounds to me like you thought it was a fine idea, because you didn't do a single thing to actually meet the neighbors and talk to them before doing what you did with Baldi.

I mean, in 2007 the residents were asking for a sound ordinance due to over amplified late night music and the associated noise, before Bel Rio opened, so obviously they had a problem with it. But you didn't want to hear that did you?

You also obviously didn't read the zoning code did you? A music venue right next to people's houses with no sound proofing? What planet are you on?

You didn't give a darn about the neighborhood, or what it needed. You just saw a couple of places like Mas doing well, thought it was going to be a cool 'scene' and wanted to get in and make some money off of it. Yeah Belmont 'wanted' and 'needed' a 5th/6th restaurant, didn't it? They wanted to become an endpoint destination for a lot of rude county residents.

I am so sick of listening to business owners talking about what 'they' think a neighborhood is ready for, when all they are thinking about is what they themselves want to do.

ââ?¬Å?And I’ll take the time to apologize to the people in Belmont who found this enterprise a nuisance while I was involved.”

Really? Is that what you are really doing? Or is it that you want to sweet talk the neighbors into letting you open the place up again? If you had given a darn you would have stood up for the neighbors before. But you didn't.

Sorry is always really nice after the fact.

I always admired his taste in women. Yumm!

I can't quite figure out what the problem is with Dave Simpson here. He got into a perfectly legal venture and realized after a while that he had made a mistake. He got out. And things went down hill. Now -- almost a year later -- what would you have him do? What would you have him say when a reporter calls him for his take on things? "I'm so glad that things have turned out this way?" Or "I'm sorry that things turned out this way?"

Ultimately, the problem in Belmont is with putting a residential and a commercial district cheek by jowl. It's quite legal, but the City made a mistake in permitting that zoning and land use.

I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but here goes:

A guy leaves town and it makes the news because he owned a restaurant?

Don't get me wrong, it's nice here and all, but there are some truly provincial elements to the local culture.

I wonder if any Chicago paper will be doing a story about Jim Baldi's arrival?

its not like this paper hasnt been following the controversy surrounding the mans's restaurant and the surrounding neighborhood for months...no, havent heard a thing about it. totally unreleated.

I bet he left town bc he has done something(s) that are fishey, illegal etc


I guess that's because you and others seem to have missed my point. It's really simple:

Just because it's legal doesn't make it right or ethical. When you see something isn't right or ethical, you can either quietly step back, or you can take a stand and make a difference. Saying " gee sorry,it won't happen again," after the fact, but remaining silent while you witness the injustice doesn't really say very much does it?

An individual like Mr Simpson with his long ties in the community/business could have had a lot of influence in getting this resolved more quickly. Tomas Rahal did take a stand. Mr Simpson chose to remain publicly silent, for whatever reason.

The City absolutely was negligent in this regard, seemingly holding double standards in the area based on the particular business so they could push what certain members liked. Why they didn't make it clear that no music venues would be tolerated, or say no amplified music after 11PM is beyond me.

Claiming that you shouldn't have businesses near residential homes is nonsense. A quick review of the Hook blog pages would show you that residents in the Belmont area have lived for many years in harmony with a wide variety of businesses, happily patronizing them, and can continue to do so. The City just needs to refrain from pushing it to be an endpoint destination for car commuters, and allow it to remain the pedestrian oriented neighborhood it is.

a 24 year old waitress 'bought' the restaurant on the corner after working there for a month after being frequently seen in Baldis smooth company? is anyone else wonering about the financials behind that deal?

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Guess my comment had too much "potentially libelous" content. Maybe "Hit Girl" takes a hit for the same reason.

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failure to communicate, Lex of L7 isn't Kristian Throckmorton, the 25 year old who has been missing since Baldi's disappearance. Your comment is not only inappropriate, but certainly ill informed. Not to mention that it also shows a lack of reading comprehension.

msfitz, failure to communicate may be one of those 'not too bright' ones hitgirl talked about. you seem to be saying that Lex is not one of them, and that the L7 arrangement was strictly business. good on you for keeping this discussion out of scandelmongering and away from dirty little minds who assume any woman connected to this strange story was intimately involved with the alleged wrongdoer. good to know that Lex was never personally involved with Baldi and was just seizing on a purely business opportunity from a purely business position. sunlight is the best policeman said chief justice someone.

Maybe someone should ask Baldi's wife and two children where he is. I am sure they have been wondering about his whereabouts and with whom(s) for quite some time.

@ angle eyes- i did not get a chance to read your post that had been removed. however, i am a firm believer in the freedom of speech. if we are going to open this article up for discussion we should be prepared to hear the public's opinion, not matter what it may be. In other words, that post should never have been removed. Liability or not.

are there crinimal implications? is there a warrant out for his arrest, or just a lot of seemingly duped women wondering where he was on such-and-such a night? If so, any of the harem who turns him in to the police or Internal Revenue might win back some moral grace by donating the reward money to the support of his children.

Baldi's Belmont house has been for sale since at least March. ($250k now reduced to $189k). Either he's been planning to exit for a while, or...?

Bel Rio's a nice space. Belmont could use a good food cooperative.

Jim Baldi and the lady in question may be adults, but they most certainly do not have the right to do whatever whenever with whomever.

Same as you and me. I hope you understand that.

There is news here though.

He's the reason OXO closed, he screwed up their taxes too.