TomTom Restaurant & Bar in West Hollywood has been operating without a business license since 2019 according to city records, which verify allegations first brought to our attention by a whistleblower within City Hall, who has been granted anonymity in order to discuss the issue without fear of retaliation.
Additionally, PUMP Restaurant, formerly located at 8948 Santa Monica Blvd., had also been operating on an expired license from February 2023 until its closure last summer, the whistleblower reported.
A regulatory business license is required by West Hollywood city code for 34 specific business types, including bars and restaurants, to operate within city limits.
TomTom is owned by Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd, along with junior partners Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz. PUMP, which gained notoriety as the setting for the reality TV show “Vanderpump Rules,” was owned by Vanderpump and Todd.
“The nighttime code compliance officer reported this to Danny Rivas, but was told to let it go,” said the whistleblower, a city employee dismayed by the favoritism shown by their superiors in City Hall. They describe a demoralized staff and a “buddy system,” where officers need approval to issue a citation. The whistleblower and their colleagues are baffled by the lack of action taken against these celebrity-owned establishments.
A public records request confirmed that both businesses are non-compliant, and it also verified the expiration of PUMP’s license at the former location.
We reached out to Danny Rivas, Director of Public Safety and Code Compliance Manager, about the issue. Rivas replied to questions regarding the expired licenses:
“In regard to Tom Tom, its business license is not valid. As with any business with a delinquent business license, the City works to bring the licenses up to date. When a business is delinquent, the City contacts the business to seek compliance. The City’s Neighborhood and Business Safety Division collaborates with other City Departments to ensure proactive measures are in place, identifying businesses that fail to establish or renew a business license and remedying delinquencies. In reference to your inquiry about our Neighborhood and Business Safety Division being instructed not to enforce laws on a business, the City’s goal has always been—and will continue to be—to enforce the municipal code. We work with businesses that may be out of compliance to bring them into compliance voluntarily.”
When asked if a business can pay business taxes to the city without a license, Rivas answered: “Thank you for your follow-up question. We are looking into what occurred and are working to resolve it amicably. Regards, Danny Rivas.”
However, this explanation does not clarify why Tom Tom or PUMP have never been cited, whether they are current on business tax payments, or how such non-compliance could persist for an extended period.
We also reached out to a member of the Business License Commission to inquire about their role. It appears there is no connection between expired business licenses and the Business License Commission, except for matters related to cannabis.