LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The owner of Tacos Huevos says he can no longer keep the restaurant's doors open in the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas after disgraced former lawmaker Kelvin Atkinson was wrapped up a federal investigation over misuse of campaign funds.
Chris Pike says his business has struggled since headlines broke in March when Atkinson abruptly resigned his state senate seat and announced he was pleading guilty to federal charges.
"The fact that there's no bar here, it really has hurt me and bottom line, I'm going to be forced to shut my doors," said Pike.
The pair became business acquaintances about three years ago, according to Pike, when both men were starting their business.
Through a series of events, the pair ended up leasing a space in the downtown Arts District on the corner of Charleston Boulevard and Main Street.
"12 to 16 hour days for sure, 12 hour days were a short day for me," said Pike as he worked to transform the space on his side of the building.
Atkinson's space, The Urban Lounge, supplied ample customer traffic as well as a liquor license, according to Pike.
Pike says the businesses benefited each other for a while, until Atkinson's legal troubles mounted.
"I've let myself and my family down, I accept full responsibility for my actions and cannot express the depth of my remorse. I am truly sorry," Atkinson told his fellow lawmakers in a tearful goodbye message on March 5.
Soon after Atkinson's announcement, The Urban Lounge closed down.
"To have that happen, it was definitely a difficult thing to swallow, it was like a sock to the gut," said Pike.
Pike says he scrambled ideas together to try and reopen the bar side of the business but nothing came together and it became clear he would be forced to close.
"We love local places, we love the quality of food, so we would definitely come back, but it's a shame, I like to see small business owners succeed," said customer Jodi Ripsam, visiting from Denver, Colorado.
"It is tough, I put a lot into this business," said Pike.
Tacos Huevos is set to close on March 25 and when it does, six employees will lose their jobs.
13 Investigates reached out to a listed phone number for Atkinson repeatedly, but a request for comment was not returned.
Federal authorities say Atkinson used $75,000 worth of campaign cash to start the Urban Lounge.
Atkinson faces up to 20 years in prison when he is set for sentencing in July.