Friday, May 29, 2009

Tom Joubran Gets Profiled in San Diego

Flint legend Tom Joubran is the subject of an exhaustive profile in the San Diego Reader.

Journalist Matt Potter does a great job telling Joubran's rags-to-riches story, quoting liberally from former
Flint Journal reporter Dan Shriner:
“The thing about Mr. Joubran is that he’s basically brought so many of his relatives and family members here,” notes Shriner, the former Flint Journal reporter who covered Joubran and his run-ins with the law during the 1980s and 1990s. “Just dozens and dozens of people he’s brought here over the years.

“He’s been an interesting character for a long time, I’ll give him that,” Shriner continues. “He came here, had like $25 to his name, couldn’t speak a word of English, did the immigrant thing — worked hard and eventually bought his own grocery store and kind of grew things from there.

“He’s owned several bars, but the big one that everybody remembers him for was the Mikatam,” says Shriner. “It was named after his son Michael, his daughter Kathy, and his youngest daughter Tammy: Mi-Ka-Tam.

“That was a huge bar, and he did business like nobody else. Frankly, what he did, I thought, was brilliant. What he would do was that he would charge a $10 cover charge, and this place would hold 5000 people. He told me he could easily get 3000 to 5000 people in there without a problem. Now, it was packed, mind you, but he would do it if he could, and he frequently did."

But the story doesn't shy away from the accusations made against Joubran over the years:

He has endured decades of controversy: In 1980, during testimony before a United States Senate subcommittee, the executive director of the Saginaw Valley Crime Commission listed him as a “person of interest,” purportedly involved in “organized criminal activities” in the Flint, Michigan area.

His nemesis was Genesee County prosecutor Arthur Busch, who grew up in a blue-collar household near Flint and counts among his high school friends Michael Moore, the film director who began his career publishing the Flint Voice, an alternative newspaper.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a gangster, and I don’t care if you print it,” Busch, now in private law practice, said of Joubran during a recent telephone interview. Over the years, Busch accused Joubran of a litany of crimes. One case involved a charge of felonious assault brought by Busch against Joubran in 1995. It was described in a November 2003 Michigan Court of Appeals document.

Overall, it's a comprehensive piece that's worth reading in full here.


  1. I lived in Genessee, where the Mikatam was, for a couple of years. That place was very infamous for serving alcohol to minors.

    The last couple of times I've visited Flint, I've driven by the place. The building is now owned by some Catholics, and has become a sort of center for various aid agencies.

  2. Is there anyone out there that didn't buy booze underage at at least one of the Joubran stores or bars? If you're out there, you're in a very small minority. Tom, thanks for enabling a lot of youngsters to have a lot of fun.

  3. So, I used to have this ridiculous T-shirt that said, "Satisfaction Guaranteed." It started a flirtation between me and the Middle Eastern guy behind the counter at Joubran's. Now I wonder, which multi-billionaire is he? And could he still be lured by a stuffed T-shirt?

  4. Surprise surprise... another Joubran-owned business goes up in flames:

  5. I do work for tom, actually i cleaned up the debris at the recent mikatam fire.

    first off he had no insurance on the building as it was not in use but being renovated for a banquet hall..

    second if you don't know the man then get off his sack, i watched him write out numerous checks for people who had been screwed over by other people.. I seen him write out a 30k check for a woman that got screwed on a home she bought from a certain someone else in the family that never paid the company for it and instead kept the money..

    the man is a genious, he went from nothing to owning a town.

    but like they say haters will hate


    1. I agree with you. I worked for his daughter Kathy and was there during the time of this fire. She had a mortgage company in the same building. They were VERY generous people. A little crooked at times but they paid their dues.

  6. Grand Blanc had a neighborhood named Warwick that had a couple Mob families when I was growing up.

  7. What are you people mad. a legend. Lol, more like a legion, like a soar on that town, which by the way if you blink you will miss it. The people of Genesee are the real legends, I know I used to live there. They describe Genesee like New York, like it has one skyscraper, oh wait, it does the CB tower. Last I checked he doesn't own that. Someone needs to do a story on those two Israeli guys that built that huge project in Davison. I think their name is Zohar, very respectable family, I used to work for them and they don't go cheap on anything. I seen the buildings they built. I wish I could have got them to build my house. That's the kind of guys you need to do a story on. I'd put my money on them.

  8. FYI, Citizen's Bank Tower is not in Genesee, it is in Flint. The small town that Tom built is Genesee; Flint and the CB Tower are in Genesee County. Don't confuse the town of Genesee with Genesee county.

  9. i would love to know if these anti tom joubran people would even reconize him if they seen him in front of there face. i do think NOT and you can tell that by these comments. do your homework.

  10. Just to let everyone know, Tom Joubran passed away last night 01/26/2012. RIP Tom

  11. Oh by the way your both wrong on the CB Tower, it is in Genesee County, Flint to be exact, but it is Genesee Towers, use to be Genesee Banks main building and it is now vacant and boarded up. I do commercial Inspections and was just in it the other day.

  12. I live in Genesee. The Mikatam parking lot would hold approx. 200 cars. I believe seating capacity inside would be 300-500, not 3,000 to 5,000.

  13. Anonymous-you are right it is in Flint, Genesee County but, it is not the Genesee Towers. CB Stands for Citizens Bank. It is still part of the Citizens Bank Building down town.


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