Landlord and restaurant in dispute over lease

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

A Naples, Florida landlord has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to evict a restaurant that rents commercial space from him. Local news sources report that the business dispute apparently began when one of the partners that own the restaurant, Handsome Harry’s, entered into a deal to sell his interest in the restaurant.

The landlord said that he would terminate the restaurant’s commercial lease unless the agreement was unwound, returning the ownership to the original partners. The landlord contends that he must approve any change in ownership in the restaurant and that he was never consulted. The restaurant owners claim that the landlord has not right to prohibit transfers of interest in the restaurant.

In an attempt to stem the lawsuit, the restaurant owners called off the transfer. Despite this the landlord still moved forward with his attempt to evict the restaurant. The local restauranteur who had intended to purchase the interest in the restaurant says that they “seriously do not understand what we are fighting about right now.” He is still hoping that an arrangement can be worked out so that he may purchase an interest; he has been involved with running the restaurant since January.

The landlord’s lawsuit asserts that there were several other breaches of the lease as well, including taking out a business loan without his consent and informing him that they were insolvent. The restaurant owners claim that they have never told the landlord that they were insolvent and have, in fact, always paid their rent on time. They say that the loan application did not violate the lease because they only pledged their interest in the business, not the lease.

Source: Naples News “Handsome Harry’s landlord sues to evict bistro from Third Street South site” Laura Layden, Aug. 9, 2011