Bahooka Drama Continues: WHERE is Rufus?

bahooka22Talk about a whale of a tale! In March of 2013, Bahooka, one of Southern California’s oldest and most beloved kooky tiki restaurant/bar establishments closed its doors for business, sending sentimental shockwaves throughout the fan community across the U.S. and beyond. While the details of what transpired between family members remain vague, there is one certainty – those left with control over Bahooka simply didn’t want it anymore, and so, the property was sold.

Shortly after the sale, word came that a new owner would be renovating Bahooka as a Chinese Restaurant, which prompted tiki fans far and wide to ask exactly what would happen to the establishment’s most famous resident – Rufus, a huge, carrot-eating, nearly 40 year-old Pacu that had became a celebrity over a period of decades at the location.

This story now picks up really where our last left off – following Theme Park Adventure’s final trip to see the iconic restaurant one last time. If you’ve not yet read Bahooka, Farewell and Aloha to You, click the link to check out that heart-felt editorial.

At the time of Bahooka’s closure, its future was up in the air. While it had been announced that the location would become a Chinese restaurant, fans were left wondering if it would be gutted or completely leveled. Even more importantly, people wanted to know what would become of all of the fish and sea creatures – including Rufus – during the transition. Communication from Bahooka’s new owner was poor at best, and fans everywhere voiced their concerns on websites and message boards, including Tiki Central.

In the months to follow, there were reports that Bahooka’s new owner was either slowly selling off or giving away the fish and their tanks that adorned just about every interior inch of restaurant. This news gave more momentum to the pressing question – what was to become of Rufus, who was obviously very large and very old. Little to no response came, prompting demands rather than polite questions from the community; everyone was concerned for the fish’s well-being, and the lack of response from the new owner frustrated many people.

rufus1Finally, word came that Rufus was alive and well from Jorge Mastache, the gentleman who’d cared for all of Bahooka’s critters since 2001, who was still visiting, feeding, and caring for Rufus and the other remaining fish months after the restaurant’s closure. When the public heard that Rufus was still living in the abandoned property alone in his tank and certainly in the dark, it sparked outrage and a movement online to get the old Pacu moved to a new home where he wouldn’t be alone, and he could live out the rest of his days surrounded by positive tiki energy and love from adoring fans coming to visit. Renowned tiki artist Tom “Thor” Thordarson sketched a heart-breaking illustration of Rufus, alone and confused, which went viral on the Internet among tiki communities and fan sites; he was one of many prominent voices in the crowd urging for Rufus to be given a new home.

Compounding the drama surrounding Rufus and the other fish, was the fact that the ownership of Bahooka kept flipping as the property changed hands at least twice, each new investor trying to figure out what to do with the old restaurant and its gilled inhabitants.

A new owner by the name of Alan Zhu came forward and in his first communication with the public, stated that he and his team were planning to move forward with completely renovating the restaurant as a Chinese buffet, and that Rufus needed to be out in one week.

Fish caretaker Jorge Mastache spoke up regarding moving Rufus, stating that it would be a very expensive, very delicate operation that could very possibly kill the aging fish due to stress. Undaunted by Mr. Mastache’s grave warnings regarding Rufus’ relocation, the community instantly stepped up with efforts online to raise whatever money would be necessary to find the Pacu a new home and new lease on life.

In the background, away from the spotlight, discussion was already underway with Damon’s Steakhouse in Glendale – now considered to be the mothership of Los Angeles tiki restaurants remaining. The restaurant was very interested in securing Rufus and taking on the high cost of moving him, as well as installing a brand-new massive aquarium for him.

This is where the story gets even more slippery.

bahooka13At the same time that talks between Damon’s management and Alan Zhu were moving forward behind closed doors, very public momentum continued online to raise thousands of dollars to move Rufus to a new location. And this momentum had swelled way beyond tiki fan sites. Mainstream media and other Los Angeles-based bloggers were picking up on this emotionally-charged phenomenon. This attracted the local media even more, and stories began popping up all over Southern California, from Fox News to The Los Angeles Times and everywhere in between.

Money suddenly wasn’t the concern. However, communication from Alan Zhu was. The more people became aware about the plight of Rufus, the more Mr. Zhu retreated into silence, with occasional “insight” being shared by individuals claiming to be friends or close associates of the businessman, stating that they were still looking into what to do with the fish well past Zhu’s imposed “one week” deadline.

This round-and-round of frustrating miscommunication continued for weeks on end, resulting in some very heated exchanges online, most notably between passionate fans on Tiki Central, who began airing their concerns about all of the media attention causing Zhu to become non-existent in the matter. At one point, I asked Damon’s management personally what the heck was going on, and they indicated to me that they’d been cut off from the discussion and that no word was coming from the Zhu camp regarding the deal to move Rufus; they too, were agitated, confused, and hampered in their efforts by the stonewalling apparently taking place.


In a “change of heart”, Alan Zhu retracted his statement, and announced that after careful consideration, his team felt that moving Rufus to a new home would be too dangerous, and that he’d decided to keep the fish for himself – and for his new restaurant. With that, he asked the fans for all of the funds raised and more so that he could purchase and install a more than $10,000.00 2,000-gallon tank for the new restaurant. Fans flipped out, and heated discussions online ensued. Most people – myself included – felt that this was a really shady, opportunistic move by Zhu to take advantage of the situation so as to benefit his own venture. Let’s face it – Rosemead and its neighboring communities have what, about 7,658,453 Chinese restaurants? What would make Mr. Zhu’s stand out? A catchy name like “May Flower”? Ugh. No… how about a famous fish that was suddenly in the media spotlight? That’s the ticket! The general consensus was that not one cent should go to Alan Zhu or his fishy scheme to use fans’ donations for the betterment of his own restaurant venture. And I’ve gotta say, I agree with that assessment. Had Zhu said all along that they wanted to give Rufus a bigger, more beautiful home in his new restaurant, my guess is, everyone would have felt better and more supportive. However, just weeks before, this man’s sentiment was pay up, get this fish out, or else.

You connect your own dots.

That’s where the story went cold again, as communication between Zhu and the public ceased.

Still with me? It gets worse. Much worse.

bahooka21Just over a month ago, fans started stopping by Bahooka, curious as to what condition it was in, and wanting to know what had become of Rufus after the media attention had faded. Folks were snapping pictures, and a tiki fan reported finding a very large empty tank behind the building. Rufus’ tank.

Instantly, word spread like wildfire through the community and once again, fans began demanding to know what was going on and what had happened to Rufus. Many feared the worst and were whispering that Zhu had disposed of the fish once the attention had died down so that he could proceed without the specter of Rufus’ fate hanging constantly over his head. A video shot on May 5th has surfaced online, showing a gutted Bahooka, absolutely void of any fish, including Rufus.

With all of the misinformation and in-fighting online, a clear picture of what’s transpired is very murky at this point. A long-time member of the Tiki Central group who claims to have insight and first-hand knowledge of what’s transpired, assured everyone that Rufus is fine – that he’s been moved and will return to the new May Flower restaurant when all is said and done.

That raises more questions. Information has surfaced that Rufus was moved to a “Koi pond” at the residence of Mr. Zhu. Automatically, one wonders how that move would have been possible, if Rufus’ caretaker Jorge Mastache was so very concerned about moving the fish from Rosemead to Glendale, how could the aging Pacu possibly have been transported safely somewhere without his tank? And how could a tropical fish be safely transferred to a cold Koi pond, when warm water and constant monitoring of temperature (to be kept at 79 degrees) is needed for this tropical fish to survive? If this is true, and Rufus suddenly lives at Alan Zhu’s residence (other information places the fish at the home of one of Zhu’s friends instead), how in the world is he supposed to survive another trip back to the new restaurant in Rosemead when it opens? Mastache and Zhu were so adamant about not moving Rufus because of the perilous logistics cited when they pulled out of the agreement with Damon’s – yet suddenly, it’s okay to transport the fish twice? Something doesn’t jive.

However, a Tiki Central “insider” to all of this promised pictures of Rufus, content and happy in his new/temporary home. The group seemed somewhat relieved – until the images never came to light as promised, with the poster saying he was having trouble uploading images. In this day and age of digital media and social networking? Really? My grandmother knows how to upload and post images online. Once again, the fan community has grown restless and called B.S. on this so-called “insider”. On top of this, it was pointed out how simple it would be to post a blurred image of a fish in a pond and say it was Rufus. At the end of the day, said visual proof of Rufus alive and happy has failed to surface.

NOTE: Just prior to the publishing of this story, said “insider” apparently passed the images from his phone to another tiki fan, who promptly posted them on Tiki Central. Looking at the new images vs. images of Rufus taken in Bahooka during its closing, one can very clearly see that the fish in the new images is not Rufus, causing even greater concern now amongst fans.

rufus2Once again, Thor took to his sketch pad to illustrate what most people are fearing – that Rufus literally sleeps with the fishes now. It’s a really depressing follow-up to the sketch he did before, depicting Rufus being left behind in the darkness of the shuttered Bahooka. However, it brings the glaring thought in everyone’s head to the forefront of the situation now. Alan Zhu and his “associates” have proven that they are both shady and not terribly forthcoming with information most of the time. I’m not saying Rufus isn’t at someone’s residence; the simple logistics of such a move just really don’t add up for me personally.

Most recently, someone stated that Mr. Zhu had confided in a former Bahooka employee that he’d simply thrown Rufus into a river in Long Beach; if true, that would without question, have been a death sentence for the Pacu, let alone terribly cruel. No one knows what’s transpired – and everyone remains upset and on edge, fearing the worst while hoping for the best. Regardless of where or what’s happened to Rufus, one thing is certain – Alan Zhu has not helped the situation or himself in the least by being evasive, opportunistic, and ultimately, silent throughout this ordeal. What makes matters worse is all of the hearsay, which may or may not be true about Zhu; it is however, turning normally very friendly, easy-going tiki fans into stressed posters, often arguing with one another and taking jabs at each other online. It’s disheartening all around.

I drove to Rosemead this week myself, to see Bahooka, and to take pictures of the property to accompany this story. Despite Mr. Zhu’s associates saying the new restaurant will be opening soon, there was no construction crew present working on the interior or exterior of the restaurant. What I did observe was a stony-faced older Chinese gentleman patrolling – almost marching – around the perimeter of Bahooka while talking into an iPhone headset’s microphone in a hushed voice. He clearly saw me taking pictures, yet walked past me twice without looking at me, attempting to smile or communicate, or even ask me what I was doing. A young woman pulled up next to me and rolled her window down; as she started to ask for directions to a local street, I apologized and said I wasn’t familiar with Rosemead, and that I was just passing by and had stopped to take some pictures of the closed restaurant. As she started to drive away, the Chinese gentleman waved her down; instead of giving her directions, he stated loudly that a “new Chinese restaurant will be opening here – next year!” She said okay, and drove off. Mr. Militant continued his patrol and didn’t once acknowledge me; it was the weirdest thing, and I wondered why he said the restaurant would open “next year”, since everyone’s said it would be this summer. Perhaps he got his English confused; or perhaps he’s much closer to the situation than anyone here, on Tiki Central, or anywhere else. Hell, maybe it was Alan Zhu himself; I wasn’t about to ask and raise suspicions while on their property. I saw the exterior, which is a mess. I saw the interior through an open door; it is gutted as seen in the video with no further work done and a long way off from being ready to open.

bahooka3At the moment, this is all we know for certain:

  • Bahooka is completely gutted with very little work being done on the interior; not one construction worker was on site early Monday morning when I stopped by for a look
  • Bahooka’s exterior is a mess, with heaps of concrete, debris and huge wooden pilings lining its parking lot
  • Rufus’ tank was found outside the restaurant more than a month ago and has since been hauled away
  • Images of the missing fish have not come to light at the time of this posting; images claiming to be Rufus have, but they are not, based on vast physical differences between the Pacu in the new pictures and the last images people have of Rufus from Bahooka
  • There is total radio silence from Alan Zhu and his associates regarding Rufus at this point

Why does any of this matter? Why take the time to do a follow-up story on this when there are so many unanswered questions and so much miscommunication?

Because good people became involved. People that deserve better than a web of lies and deceit in return for their generosity. It’s more than a story about an old fish, or over a thousand fish that called Bahooka “home”. It’s an emotionally-charged story that is about truth, a fan community left hanging, and a shady-at-best restaurateur that will bring heaps of bad juju on himself and his venture if its doors open and Rufus is nowhere to be found. This local tiki fan community isn’t going away. They want answers, and I think that media sites like this one and others that expressed interest in the closure of Bahooka and the fate of its fish collection need to recognize this and come together once again with a spotlight and microscope to find out exactly what has transpired here.

I encourage other sites and fan blogs to raise questions again and put pressure on Alan Zhu and his associates to come clean about what’s happened to Rufus, or where he is. No one wants to slander Alan Zhu, and it’s not at all amusing to vilify him. He may be a fantastic guy that is truly looking out for Rufus’ best interest. However, he’s certainly not going out of his way in the least to save face or defend his reputation in the eyes of the public. Without pressure from the media, Alan Zhu is going to continue do just what he’s doing – and no one will ever know what happened once the media turned their back on this story.

This is the big one that shouldn’t get away.

– Rick West

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35 Responses to Bahooka Drama Continues: WHERE is Rufus?

  1. Avatar Tom Thordarson says:

    Thanks Rick!!! I truly appreciate your great support and heart in this cause! Hoping this will be shared and spread by all your great readers!! Aloha! -Thor

  2. Thank you for helping us, Rick. This is a heartbreaking situation, a serious violation on so many levels. Adriene

  3. Rick West Rick West says:

    It’s really unfortunate. We love the tiki community and simply want to help get discussion stirring again about this. If Rufus was discarded after the initial media attention died down, that’s incredibly ugly and calls for all forms of bad juju.

  4. Incredibly ugly indeed. And all who joyfully contributed to what we were led to believe was a positive outcome for Rufus with a brand new tank have also been left in the dark. Suddenly no Rufus. No follow-ups. Nothing but a black hole. Where did those thousands of dollars go? But above all—where is our friend? Where is the humanity in all of this? Adriene

  5. Rick West Rick West says:

    I believe the fund are being kept safe in hopes that Rufus DOES get a new home and the money can be put toward that as planned. However, depending on what donation service was used, I believe untouched funds are returned after a certain period of inactivity. If it was through HiddenLA’s awesome efforts, I believe it’s 6 months. We’re all holding and crossing fingers until then.

  6. Avatar Robert Maya says:

    If anything did happen to Rufus, is there any way of getting them on animal cruelty charges? And if he did released him out in Long Beach harbor, I know that alone would be horrible. If it were an evasive species that could wreck havoc on native fish & I’m sure there are probably laws against that. I hate to sound revengeful but justice should be brought for Rufus if anything did happen to him.

  7. Avatar lori says:

    At the worst, to release a Pacu into a local river is illegal and is animal cruelty and an environmental problem as Pacu are not native to California. So very sad! Bring him up on charges!

  8. Rick West Rick West says:

    Hi Robert! Totally understand your frustration and sentiment. However, the truth of the matter is, we still don’t know what’s happened to Rufus. And if Mr. Zhu did release him in such a manner, it was a death sentence, as Pacu are tropical fish, need a clean, warm tank that is regulated at 79 degrees. If Rufus was released in the wild, he is most certainly dead. We may never know what’s taken place, because we can’t force this guy to talk to anyone. It’s frustrating, and we’re all in the same holding pattern here. Aloha to you and good tiki vibes to all!

  9. Rick West Rick West says:

    Hi Lori! Thanks for your passion and support. Pacu require a clean, warm environment to survive – a tank regulated at 79 degrees is optimal. IF he was released into the wild, he is certainly dead. That said, we don’t know what’s transpired, which is why everyone is waiting and hoping for a happy ending here. However, we also need to realize that this whole ordeal has been a SNAFU of communication problems and evasive politics. It’s a sad state of affairs, to be sure. Keep the faith – and let’s hope Rufus is alive and well.

  10. Avatar Lydia says:

    It would not hurt to consult The Humane Society about this. Unless Mr. Zhu can produce Rufus or solid evidence that he his alive and well, it would most certainly warrant an animal cruelty report. Rufus was already suffering neglect when left in a dark, abandoned building. And it appears that Mr. Zhu was essentially holding Rufus hostage when asking for money to keep him alive. Some animal welfare agencies have the power to obtain and serve warrants; other agencies work closely with local police who execute the search warrant on their behalf.

    Also, what became of Jorge Mastache? Is he no longer reachable either? He must have had some contact with Mr. Zhu if only to have been told to stop coming to care for the fish.

  11. Rick West Rick West says:

    Unfortunately, until either Alan Zhu comes forward or Jorge Mastache somehow shows up with Rufus in a new tank in a new location, we’re all kind of stuck in a holding pattern. It’s frustrating as hell, but there’s no basis to know what’s transpired. All Zhu would have to say is that Rufus passed away in his tank, and it would be a closed investigation – he is well over his life expectancy, I believe. We may never know. Right now, the best thing we can do is keep calm, keep some hope, and keep the pressure on Alan Zhu and the May Flower restaurant by sharing this story, getting it viral and letting them know none of us are going to give up and go away. Everyone wants the truth – and in the end sadly, we may not even get that.

    It sucks, but it’s kind of a stand-off at this point, and like it or not, Zhu is the rightful owner (shame on Bahooka’s previous owners for allowing this to happen before they walked off with their payday). He can pretty much do what he wants and disclose nothing to the public if he chooses. The playing field is not level, and let’s face it – he’s not been exactly forthcoming as of yet. I’m not really holding my breath for any change of heart or behavior from him any time soon.

    Thanks for the passion! Keep it going!

  12. Avatar Robert Maya says:

    Rick you are so right. Lets hope to the great tiki in the sky that Rufus is alive & well….

  13. Avatar Jenny says:

    Thank you i was reading all the comments and thinking…well yes Mr Zhu is looking like a seriously shady persone..BUT..your comment on the original owner is the first time it was said. The original owner I feel is truely the one responsible for the entire thing they LEFT HIM…just walked away turned off the lights and left him. How sad but remeber karma comes back at you a three fold Mr Zuh and whoever the previous owner was they will reap some bitter karma!!

  14. Avatar Raphael says:

    If no news – or bad news – surfaces by the time the May Flower opens, our community needs to make a concerted effort to ensure it fails. Telling the truth about what happened on Yelp is one way to do that. Boycotts, picketing, and flyering potential diners is another. If we expect any transparency from Mr. Zhu, he will need to feel some pressure from the community. Clearly that isn’t happening now.

    Alternatively, if the restaurant opens with a happy Pacu in a beautiful new tank, I’ll gladly reward it with a recommendation. But I’m not holding my breath.

  15. Avatar Ken says:

    Zhu will never say anything about this unless forced by court order, he knows that. The cost of the fish would be too much for any businessman unaware of the connection to local history. The only logical conclusion is that Rufus is gone.

    EDIT – Corrected the spelling of “Zhu” prior to approving comment.

  16. Avatar neilprotacio says:

    While I’ve never been to Bahooka before (which is a bummer since I live so close to it), I can truly say that this story can pull on anyone’s heart strings. Is there any way to find out which demolition company was contracted to help take down Bahooka? There must’ve been SOME type of communication between Alan Zhu and the demolition company – even if it’s just a worker hearing something in passing.

    Also, it wouldn’t hurt to apply a little pressure on city newspapers to uncover whatever truth they can. I would say that with all the outcry from the Tiki forum, it’s enough to justify a follow-up article. It’s been since February since anything’s been said about Rufus. Maybe if enough people can tweet and email writers who have covered Bahooka’s closing, they’ll take interest in it. I’ve already tweeted Frank Shyong of the LA Times to see if he’ll be following up.

  17. Rick West Rick West says:

    We’re crossing fingers. And of course, TPA will stand with the tiki fans and community on this and see it through.

  18. Rick West Rick West says:

    From every account I have heard, Zhu contracted his own team and enlisted some of Bahooka’s former staff to help gut the interior. Judging by the progress and how long it’s taking to do anything with the property, it seems to me that a major construction company is not working on this.

    Thank you for the support and enthusiasm – good tiki vibes to you!

  19. Avatar Beverly says:

    What a travesty! Treating the legendary Rufus as a pawn is absolutely criminal! And, yes, it’s time to bring in the Big Guns: SPCA, Investigative Reporters, etc. I just came on the scene and I’m saddened by this situation.

  20. Avatar Randy says:

    I WANT ANSWERS, non of this beating around the bush. Alan Zhu is a business man, i say get an “tiki community/ insider” translator and get some answers, man. He’s a business man in it to keep Rufus for business leverage. I say picket his establishment if it somes to that; but in the meanwhile where is Rufus? how’s he doing? we need proof. it’s not fair.

  21. Avatar rick kess says:

    I can only assume, after many wonderful visits to Bahookas, that the previous owners were convinced that the new owners would indeed take good care of all their aquatic friends. This news is incredibly disturburbing, the newest owner must understand that the absence of information will in turn cause the masses to create their own. All we can hope is that at some point the accurate information will surface, giving us, who loved and spent many happy hours watching and talking to Rufus, either cause to celebrate, or at least, obtain closure. God bless every one who has donated to this worthiest of causes.

  22. Avatar Christiki295 says:

    Whenever I go to Damon’s I always think of what could have been. If Alan Zhu would only have “lent” Rufus to Damon’s, to the LA Zoo’s Lair exhibit or some other trust worthy caretaker, we still could be enjoying Rufus, the spirit of the former Bahookas and of Southern California Tiki.

  23. Avatar ATP says:

    As one of the people on Tiki Central whom was trying to get to the bottom of all of this
    to date we have not a single bit of information to add, I was hoping Frank Shyong of the L.A. Times
    would follow up his previous story with an update, since he to date has been the only one to talk to Mr. Zhu.

    The Tiki Central thread where this all started, got so heated it had to be locked
    I have to add the new Tiki Central member (joined last Dec.) who went by the handle of “Fez Moai”
    was the one who was acting as Mr Zhu’s representative through out all of this
    and after so much subterfuge and after providing those fake “Rufus” photos
    has proven a very questionable source of information through out our fact finding efforts
    And has been disavowed from any further participation,

  24. Rick West Rick West says:

    The whole situation is very unfortunate, at best. It’s a mess of miscommunication and generally mellow, great people being turned against each other in heated debate online. It’s been a couple weeks since the thread was closed on Tiki Central, and so, many remain in the dark about this. I don’t know if the images of the Pacu that were presented as Rufus were knowingly NOT the fish, or whether they were sent to the user known as “Fez Moai”, who passed them along to the rest of the fans thinking he was doing a good thing – so the whole story gets so inflammatory and weird that it’s just become a powder keg of questions/accusations.

    We may never know the fate of Rufus, and that is a shame. Who knows what the future brings – we never intended to follow-up our original Bahooka story with this one; perhaps this is just the next chapter in what will be an on-going saga that we’ll continue following. The plot thickens, the sadness continues, and speculation abounds, unfortunately.

  25. Avatar ATP says:

    It looks like Mr. Zhu got what he wanted by letting this story die, R.I.P. Rufus.

  26. Rick West Rick West says:

    Unfortunately, you may be correct. Without the new restaurant being built and opened, there’s no “next step” for anyone to really take. If the May Flower (or Mayflower – the name is even unclear) opens, and there is no huge tank with Rufus as the star attraction, I would imagine it will heat right back up again in the tiki community – and we will follow it here on TPA as well. Until then, there is an information blockade, and it seems that everyone is in a wait-and-see holding pattern now. If the restaurant never opens, we may never have an answer – and that is horrible to the core.

  27. Avatar Brianna says:

    I have given up. And grieved for a remarkable fish who was almost as old as I am. He deserved the best and a peaceful end…who knows how much longer he could have lived….

    And what about all of the other fish…I have seen nothing about what happened to them???

    I bought a fish that will not get as huge but large for a home aquarium. A rainbow shark who is grey with a reddish orange tail. To comfort myself I have named him after Rufus so that somehow his memory lives on. It helps a little.

    Googled the address….no clue how old the pictures are but yeah…just a mostly destroyed shell of the same building…

  28. Rick West Rick West says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Brianna!

    Yeah – it’s a grim story, to be sure. And one that I don’t think has a “next step” for us as fans and for this website, until the new restaurant opens. Other than that, all communication with the property’s owner have been null and silenced as far as I know. So… we’re all just stuck in limbo with the Bahooka tale… and we may never get past this point, if the new restaurant never opens and the property changes hands again. Frustrating, and sad.

  29. Avatar Kathy says:

    Please tell me there is a new update on what happened to Rufus???

  30. Rick West Rick West says:

    Hi Kathy,

    Unfortunately, it seems that the tale of Rufus has become a “cold case”. There has been no further word from the owner, no “sightings” of the fish, and no one seems to know anything more than we all did then – my gut says something terrible happened to Rufus. A million times bad karma on that dude and any of his business ventures going forward.

    IF there is anything new, we’d definitely bring it to you here on TPA – I just think that we’re in a perpetual holding pattern that is going to stay that way, sadly.


  31. Avatar Kathy says:

    Hi Rick,
    Thank you for getting back to me- Up to this very day i think of Rufus and it just makes me ill to think
    any harm came to him- To think that there are those kind of people out there that do not care about any living creature(s) and its all the money..
    Well as they say: “Karma can be a bitch-
    And please let me know if you anything..
    Thank You,

  32. Avatar Brianna says:

    I try to remember that Rufus had an exceptionally long and wonderful life while it lasted. Maybe one of the coolest lives a fish has ever had….and that energy can not die it can only change form. Rufus II helps a little, my grey “rainbow shark”. His name lives on. And he is always in our hearts. Still hurts even though years have past. But like any famous actor he is immortal in the digital world, that helps a little too….

  33. Avatar Brianna says:

    It appears that my heartfelt comment was deleted for whatever reason…I wanted to add though…when this crap was going on I was part of the monster fish keepers message board and I did post about this…..and the other huge fish at Bahooka. There is a slight possibility that Rufus and the other large fish are now in a huge basement home aquarium….living it up in roomy style. Some people on that board live in CA and would have been interested…lets hope that is what happened to them.

  34. Avatar Kathy says:

    Hello Brianna,

    I keep checking back here to see if there are any new posts regarding Rufus-
    Thank you for keeping him in your thoughts and in such a positive way- He was a good friend
    to me and i miss him and those days spent @ the Bahooka with family and friends-Makes me sad
    its all gone, but I truly wish they had at least put something there that was nice instead of a gutted lonely
    shell of a building, just adds salt on the wound to me.. Although I havent been out that way in awhile, maybe
    something positive has been done in Bahookas replacement??
    Please let me know if you hear anything Brianna, I am always interested…

  35. Avatar Suzie B says:

    I used to frequent Bahookas often, back in the day. It was one of the first places in LA that I became a regular at when I first moved here from the Midwest. Back then, I didn’t really know anyone, and I was often lonely, and would go hang at Bahookas, get drunk, chill with Rufus, and feed him carrots. I ended up getting a job in Santa Monica around 2012, and stopped going to Bahookas, but recently, out of the blue, I thought of old Rufus and Googled him to see what ever became of him.

    I found this post and am completely heartbroken. I cannot believe how messed up the owners of Bahookas had to have been to leave such a wonderful creature behind in their haste to sell the property, and how completely evil Mr. Zhu is to have clearly “disposed” of Rufus when there were MANY loving people ready to ensure a safe and permanent home for him.

    Shame on these people for abandoning my first friend in LA!!! I’m in tears hearing about this and mad at myself that I let so much time pass before thinking of him again! My mind keeps questioning – what could I have done, had I known what was happening? But sadly, it’s all to moot point now.

    As other posters have said, please keep us posted if you hear anything else about Rufus. I am a realist and I know the chances of a happy outcome are slim to none, but still, a solid answer one way or another would be better than no answer at all.

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