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President Donald Trump gave some renewed hope to a Minnesota firefighter and business owner whose bar was burned down by rioters.
The president invited Korboi “KB” Balla to say a few words during a speech at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport where he met with Minneapolis business owners who had suffered losses from vandalism, looting and rioting following the death of George Floyd. Balla appeared with his wife by his side and, after a few remarks, was surprised by the president who gave him a promise.
(Source: YouTube/Dinesh D’Souza)
“He devoted his life savings to building a spots bar and fought so hard to get it built. He was so proud of it, it was up, it was successful,” Trump said Monday, describing the Scores Sports Bar which had originally been scheduled to open just as the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
“On May 27, that dream was viciously demolished by rioters and vandals,” the president continued, referring to the destruction of the bar amid the violent protests that erupted in the city.
Balla, a firefighter on the Brooklyn Center Fire Department and a married father of four, was captured in an emotional video back in May as he reacted to the damage done to his sports bar. The coronavirus pandemic and statewide lockdown orders temporarily postponed the grand opening of the business, which was getting ready to launch when restrictions were lifted. But then in an instant, his dream was gone in a night of protests.
Balla was in the midst of a report on the damage done to his sports bar when looters came in trying to steal the safe. And while working his shift as a firefighter the next morning, he received word that the building was burned to the ground.
Donations reach well over 100k for business owner seen in despair over destroyed business https://t.co/OiV1zDOAik
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 29, 2020
His wife, Twyana Balla, wrote about what happened on social media at the time, noting that the building was not yet insured because they had spent funds just to get it ready to open.
Plans to clean up and repair the sports bar were dashed as the site was left in ruins. The community rallied behind Balla, who emigrated to the U.S. from West Africa more than two decades ago. A GoFundMe page set up to help the business owner with a $100,000 goal reached over $1.1 million in donations.
“I always dreamed about opening my own bar and restaurant. That’s something I have dreamed about,” Balla said Monday after Trump invited him to say a few words to the crowd of supporters gathered at the airport.
“My wife and I worked so hard, saved up to have our dream come true. It was a blessing that we could finally get to see that,” he said. “But due to the rioting that happened in the city, our bar was burned down and we had to start over.”
Balla added that there was “a silver lining” to the story in the outpouring of support, prayers and donations that gave them the opportunity to try to rebuild.
“Will you be rebuilding?” Trump asked.
“Yes,” Balla replied.
“And you have the financing to rebuild?” the president added.
“We’re working on it,” the business owner said as Trump followed up, asking, “Are you close?”
When Balla noted that they were “close” but still fell short of the needed funds, the president asked how much they were still needing. Balla explained that the purchase price on the market is now $1.3 million and he is working on securing what’s needed to purchase the property.
“You had a real success, right? You built a real success, I heard,” Trump said.
“Alright, maybe we can help you out a little bit with government. We’ll try,” the president added as the crowd broke into cheers.
Balla and his wife seemed at a loss for words as the applause continued and Trump added, “let’s give it a shot.”
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