Southside Holdings seeks to evict Charleys

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Farmville restaurant that is suing its landlord for alleged breach of contract is now the target of eviction proceedings.

Southside Holdings, LLC, managed by Farmville furniture merchant Richard F. Cralle Jr., has filed a civil claim for eviction against Charleys Waterfront Cafe, Inc.

The eviction suit was filed in Prince Edward General District Court in late July, according to court documents. Earlier in the same month, the restaurant sued Cralle, claiming he violated a non-compete clause in their contract by leasing space to another restaurant in the basement of the same building.

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The summons for eviction lists Cralle as the manager of Southside Holdings, LLC, and J. Thomas O’Brien Jr. as the defendant.

According to the eviction summons, Charleys is unlawfully detaining and withholding 201 B. Mill St. — site of the restaurant — from the Southside Holdings.

The summons alleges that the “lease has expired, defendant refuses to vacate” and that $18,000 in rent for July-August and 6 percent interest from July 15 is owed, in addition to $56 in court costs and $4,500 in attorneys fees.

According to the General District Court Online Case Information System, a hearing is set for Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.

Court documents show that Farmville attorney Marshall L. Ellett is representing Southside Holdings and Stanley & Houchens LLC, of Moneta, is representing Charleys.

In response to the suit, Charleys filed a motion for an emergency temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and for permanent injunction prohibiting Southside Holdings from performing any construction work in the building and proceeding with eviction “until after the trial on Defendant’s Claims contained within its Complaint.”

The injunction states that a rent check was presented to Southside Holdings in early May and June by Charleys and “by its acceptance and cashing, renewed the existing lease agreement between the parties for another five-year-term under the old lease provisions.”

The document cites a May 2005 renewal agreement that specifically provided for a “‘restriction as to competition’ wherein the Landlord agreed that it would not ‘lease, own, or operate a restaurant in competition to the Tenant in or upon any property now owned by the Landlord. …’”

The document cites that unbeknownst to Charleys, Southside Holdings entered into an agreement with Fat Frogg to lease the open commercial space underneath Charleys in the same building for operation of a pizza restaurant. “Such agreement was in direct and material violation of the existing agreement between Charleys and Southside,” the document states.

The injunction cites the recently filed complaint in circuit court.

In mid-August, Southside Holdings responded to the injunction request, stating that “all written leases and any renewals thereof between the parties terminated at noon on May 15, 2015” and Charleys has failed to pay rent, “failed to pay overage previously due under the prior lease and extensions” and cites failure to make certain repairs, to reimburse the plaintiff for electricity service and has refusual to vacate the premises.

The response states that Cralle hasn’t been served in connection to the circuit court civil suit.

In the document, Southside Holdings asked the district court to deny the injunction request filed by Charleys, asking that the eviction suit be set for trial.

Charleys, which filed the circuit court civil suit on July 16 against Cralle, The Fat Frogg, LLC, of Elon, N.C. and North Carolina businessman Jeffrey D. MacKenzie, also seeks a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting the new restaurant from opening.

Charleys has operated for the past 15 years in the renovated warehouse owned by Cralle in downtown Farmville.