City Paper Widget

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prospective Blagden Alley Restauranteur Accused of Theft, Sabotage by Investors

Now-bankrupt investors who bought Barracks Row restaurants from Xavier Cervera, aspiring owner/operator of the restaurant "The American" in Blagden Alley, are accusing him of stealing property and deliberately sabotaging his former restaurants. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle is protesting the Cervera's application for the Blagden Alley liquor license -- see SALM blog post of March 12.

According to an April 24 Wall Street Journal blog post, the investors claim Cervera, after selling his restaurant properties, kept a Vespa motor scooter and artwork belonging to the restaurants. The investors also claim Cervera used his role as a paid consultant to subvert the operations of his former properties. Cervera's ultimate goal, the documents claim, was to get the investors to default on their payments so he would regain control of the properties.

In their court filing, the bankrupt investors did not make clear how they believe Cervera went about sabotaging their operations.

Cervera has denied the allegations both in the original Wall Street Journal blog post and in a statement to the blog Capitol Hill Corner. Cervera said he "had no ownership, management, or financial control over any of the Debtor’s operations at any time following the sale." Cervera said in the statement to the Wall Street Journal that the scooter and artwork were his personal property.

Meanwhile, The American (official address: 1209 - 1213 10th Street NW) has had a contentious set of negotiations with its neighbors and ANC2F over its liquor license. There were allegations the placards announcing the liquor license hearing were not properly displayed -- see SALM blog post of February 11 -- which led to a delay of the process by several months. The American had a preliminary hearing before D.C.'s liquor-licensing authorities on March 24. On April 2, the liquor-licensing authorities approved a motion from the restaurant's attorney (page seven of 20-page .pdf here) to delay the next scheduled hearing on The American's license.

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