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Florida Avenue Grill Saved From Foreclosure Sale!! “Love the Grill” Campaign Launched to raise money to “help offset some of our legal fees”

by Prince Of Petworth January 17, 2017 at 10:10 am 17 Comments

FG PoPville
11th and Florida Avenue, NW

Not such a gloomy morning after all!! Nice update from Florida Avenue Grill:

“We are very grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the DC Community since the news broke that the Grill was facing foreclosure. You may have heard that we were forced to sue our lender for deceptive practices aimed at forcing us into foreclosure and that the Attorney General of New York is suing the same folks for allegedly defrauding tens of thousands of people. The NY AG said of them: “We will not allow companies to hold small businesses for ransom using lies and forgery.”

We are happy to announce that we were successfully able to fend off the foreclosure sale that was scheduled for the Grill. Unfortunately, even that comes at a cost as we incurred tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and accelerated our mortgage to a payoff in a year. We settled because the reality is that, even though we are right, we are not in a position to fund skyrocketing legal costs and survive a long court battle with a lender as litigious and deep-pocketed as theirs. These folks are responsible for 25% of all the general or consumer debt cases in New York and hold a whopping 40% of all the default judgments against people in New York County! Part of why the NY AG is going after them is that one of their alleged practices is to get default judgments against tens of thousands of people, many of whom don’t even know they are being sued until they find out their credit is messed up.

One of our best customers, Mark Ranslem, has organized “Friends of Florida Avenue Grill” to raise money to help offset some of our legal fees and to help us escape these predators. He kicked off a campaign called “Love The Grill” with a $600 personal donation and has setup a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/FloridaAveGrill. We want to thank Mark for all of his support and lifting up this issue.”

Florida-Avenue-Grill-2007-PoPville

  • anonymous2u

    I don’t buy this one bit especially since they’ve already pulled the same thing in another city already. I understand that they may be nice people with a historical business but that doesn’t excuse them from not paying money they owe.

  • northeazy

    I’m no lawyer (oh wait, yes I am!) but I am certain that if the Florida Ave Grill prevailed in court, they can have their legal fees paid for by the defendant. I am even more certain that in this shitty market for lawyers, a young yet competent (NYAG is doing most of the work for you anyway) lawyer could take this on contingency fee. In other words, they should’t have settled.

    • Grant Circle

      The fact that the owner is a graduate of Yale Law School makes me think there is something more to this.

    • dcd

      Because they MIGHT have prevailed, and recovered attorneys’ fees, they shouldn’t have settled? Uh, OK.

      • Anon

        Not all lawyers are created equal, it seems…

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Also, why would a lawyer take this case on a contingency? Lawyers work for a contingency fee when they are suing someone for big bucks not when they are defending a corporate client in a foreclosure matter. There is no giant pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the client has no money to pay rent so, yeah, a lawyer is not going to work for free in hopes that they win and are granted attorney’s fees.

        It also seems a bit odd to be talking publicly about this stuff. Usually, a settlement would come with some confidentiality provisions.

  • ACG

    Something is fishy about this. Granted the lender is unscrupulous but as mentioned before, the owner of the Grill has a history of non-payment. Are we expected to fund his debt payoff with our donations? Maybe he just isn’t a good businessman – the community shouldn’t be expected to bail him out.

    • Blithe

      Predatory lending is a real thing, and properties in gentrifying/gentrified areas are possibly quite attractive targets. It’s also possible that the owner is not a good business person, or has advisors who aren’t. In any case, the really nice thing about crowd funding is that it’s completely optional, as are any expectations associated with it. Those of us who value the cause/goal/business/whatever can decide if we want to make donations. Those who don’t, won’t.

  • Blithe

    Yay! Hope this gives the Florida Ave. Grill a new lease on life.

  • Mona

    I agree, Predatory lending is a real thing! my mortgage increased by $30/month and my lender never communicated that to me, two years in the row (I never receiver an email or mail)! they claimed they mailed me the notice but I never received it. However I always received the notice about the late fees because I pay my mortgage automatically and didn’t increase it by the $30. So they wanted me to pay $120 late fee because my mortgage was short by $30 and I never received a notice of the increase, two years in the row! I filed a complain with BBB and got the late fee reimbursed. I can see this situation escalating into a foreclosure if the owner is not careful. Now I login once a month online to see if there is something I should know about my mortgage. I don’t trust them that they will communicate with me. They are just looking for an excuse to foreclose owners.

  • anonymouscane

    Now maybe they can figure out a way to make the food not suck. Appreciate the history of it, and have patronized it before, but history alone can’t keep a restaurant afloat.

  • Anony

    Donate if you wish, but IMO you are being scammed. Look at the writing on the wall.

  • James

    Wow! They already raised $4000. Sorry but something just seems off about this whole story.

    • Anony

      Agreed. The problem with these type of fundraisers is that you’ll never know what if any legal fees there were (surely not the round number of $30k) and even if there were ‘legal fees’ where your money actually goes will be a mystery. I wouldn’t touch this with my hard-earned money.

      Let the legal process work out and he’ll probably end up collecting on them as he did in the other case. Then rinse and repeat when things go down hill again with the business.

  • MadMax

    Isn’t that what restaurant proceeds are for?

  • Skeptical Now

    Just as an FYI. I reached out several times to Imar directly to kindly ask for some proof of the legal fees prior to making a donation. It fell on silence. No response and no acknowledgement even after I had Mark (the organizer of the GoFundMe) direct me to him.

    I have to say if Imar isn’t even willing to provide some information to show that he really incurred tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees which he is asking the public to subsidize then I am not willing to give him a dime.

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