Landlord files complaint seeking to evict Jour de Fete
The Aspen Times
The rift between the owners of an East Durant Avenue dining spot and their landlord continues.
Property owner Iacono Family Investments LLC filed a complaint in Pitkin County District Court this week against the company that does business as Jour de Fete, a French-inspired cafe in the building known as Durant Mall.
According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday afternoon, Iacono is seeking a court judgment to recover the space where Jour de Fete is housed, along with other costs.
Iacono claims in the complaint that Jour de Fete owes $35,377.64, an amount that covers past due assessments from the building’s condominium association for nonstructural repairs, plus penalties, unpaid utility bills and interest accrued during a period from June 1 through Feb. 12.
Iacono says it was forced to pay the association’s assessments to avoid a lien being placed on the property.
The complaint appears to be a response to a lawsuit filed in January by Jour de Fete’s owners. That suit says that Iacono’s ongoing construction project at the mall “nearly destroyed” business because customers thought the cafe was closed.
The Jour de Fete suit alleges that Iacono allowed a construction project to “get out of control” so that “weeks and months passed where the cafe was so covered in construction that it appeared to be closed or even out of business.” The suit also accuses the landlord group of making threats to evict the restaurant because of more than $30,000 in association charges.
The landlord, the suit contends, initially agreed to waive the association assessments for maintenance because of the construction project’s toll on business.
“Iacono has forced this suit with threats to evict Jour de Fete,” says the restaurant’s complaint, filed by Aspen attorney Matthew C. Ferguson. “Jour de Fete’s legitimate suit is brought after months of efforts to negotiate a resolution and avoid any litigation.”
Ferguson, asked Wednesday for comment on the complaint by Iacono, said he will move to dismiss the new suit because it’s improper.
“He should have counter-claimed,” Ferguson said. “We already have a case; he shouldn’t have started a new case.”
Ferguson said he will continue to battle the eviction threats and proceedings.
“This eviction is ridiculous, and we’re going to fight it all the way,” he said.
Construction in Durant Mall’s common areas began in April, and the Jour de Fete owners were told the work would be finished in May before the summer tourism season began. But it wasn’t until late January that chain-link fences surrounding the property for construction purposes were removed.
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