Friends Specialty announces closure, takes aim at MetroParks director

Staff report


Friends Specialty, a downtown coffee shop, is shuttered, according to a sign posted on its door Wednesday.

“We’d like to thank our patrons for their support these past three years. It’s been our pleasure to serve the people of Youngstown, a city we love,” the sign reads. “We are working on an exciting new project that demands our undivided attention, and since life is short, we made the decision to leap ahead first into the next act of our lives. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more on our story. It’s a good one, we promise.”

A postscript to the message takes aim at Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young, stating: “To Aaron Young and his bootlicking minions: See you in court [expletive].”

Friends’ owners Patricia Tinkler and Peter Mitchell Lynch recently threatened legal action against the MetroParks after the park board terminated Friends’ lease agreement for operation of the Garden Cafe at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Tinkler and Lynch, in an Oct. 31 letter via Atty. Anthony J. Farris to MetroParks officials, allege that Young sought termination of the lease agreement for reasons that are “personal, retaliatory and unrelated to park business.”

“The violation of my clients’ federal constitutional rights by a government entity entitles them to significant damages and will likely result in litigation in federal court,” the letter states.

Citing possible legal issues, Young and park board members have not fully explained the reason for terminating the contract, but Young told The Vindicator that Friends’ failure to pay rent was a factor in the decision.

Tinkler and Farris have disputed that account.

Tinkler did not return a call for this story.

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