Youngstown: Lemon Grove, ex-landlord settle
By Jamison Cocklin
The Lemon Grove, which faced a lawsuit seeking more than $20,000 in compensation related to property damage at its former location, has resolved the matter in an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with its former landlord SKA Limited.
In a complaint filed Aug. 28 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, SKA Limited claimed restaurant owner Jacob Harver had breached his contract and violated the terms of his lease by removing six sinks, outdoor fencing and a kitchen exhaust hood from the restaurant’s former property at 122 W. Federal St. during its move in July to 110 W. Federal.
Under the lease terms, Harver agreed to maintain the property and was barred from removing any attached fixtures, regardless of whether he paid for them.
“We’ve reached a settlement in principle. Nothing has been signed yet, but we’re waiting on a few things and we’ve agreed to settle,” said Jeffrey Kurz, a co-owner of SKA Limited. “The discussions have been amicable, and Jacob and I have even started working on some things together downtown.”
Neither Harver nor Kurz would disclose the settlement amount, but Harver said “the Lemon Grove is not faced with any legal issues that would keep it from moving forward with its operations,” and carrying out improvements at its new site.
When asked about a second suit, filed only two days after SKA’s complaint, on behalf of shareholder George Nakley, who is essentially seeking to shut down the business and recover his investment, Harver called it “frivolous and not a threat” to the restaurant.
Harver retained Youngstown lawyer Scott Essad to defend the restaurant against Nakley’s claim the business is insolvent and claiming in court documents that it’s impractical to carry on operations.
Harver staunchly denies the claim, and told The Vindicator in an earlier exchange the Lemon Grove is not only solvent, but on firm financial ground.
“We don’t expect it to amount to anything,” Harver said regarding Nakley’s lawsuit.
Harver said Nakley doesn’t have “the power” to dissolve the business and said Nakley is “a very minor part of the equation here,” referring to The Lemon Grove.
The second lawsuit will now progress through the courts. Nakley could not be reached to comment.
In the meantime, Harver said the restaurant is moving forward with plans to roll out a late-night food service at its new location and continuing with improvements .