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Still More Copia Curiosities: Bank "Shocked" at New Plans

Last week, Napa's Copia turned heads when the monetarily-challenged food/wine supercenter first announced plans for a San Francisco expansion and then fired almost a third of its employees and slashed hours of operation for the next eight months. Well, as it turns out, we weren't the only ones surprised by the news, because Copia apparently failed to tell the bank that had backed it in its financial troubles for $77 mill:

ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., which has guaranteed to repay investors who bought tax-exempt bonds issued for Copia by the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, was taken aback by the expansion news, given Copia's past financial performance ... the I-Bank approved a $77 million bond refinancing bailout for Copia last year, even though the center was insolvent after accumulating $40 million in operating losses and faced $224,000 in penalties for breaching federal tax rules.

To make matters more, uh, head-scratching, ACA's CEO met with the Copia brass a mere two weeks to discuss the ways that Copia would/could generate the cash to make necessary payments:

No expansion or investment plans were discussed at the meeting, Lynch told The Bee.

"This was news to us and not discussed at our meeting at all," she said. "[Copia chief executive Garry] McGuire never told us he was working on investments. It was a complete shock to us. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, but we all want to be on the same page."

And with the newest chapter, this is turning into one hell of a show. Truth better than fiction, indeed. And we haven't even had a chance to discuss Tyler Florence's new token role as the restaurant's executive chef.

· Troubled Copia's new plan unsettles insurer [SacBee]
· EaterWire: Copia Cuts Staff/Hours [~ESF~]
· Napa Dispatch: Copia Coming to San Francisco [~ESF~]

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