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Landlord Files Notice with Court to Evict Los Imperios

Los Imperios, 904 Farmington Ave., West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton
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Lisaraj, LLC, the owner of 904 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, filed a complaint in Superior Court to have Los Imperios evicted from the premises due to non-payment of rent.

By Ronni Newton

Los Imperios and its owners, Ernesto Leon and Guillermino Marquez, are facing several legal actions, with the most recent one being a complaint filed on behalf of the landlord for 904 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, requesting that the business vacate the premises due to non-payment of rent.

According to the complaint, dated Sept. 26, 2017, and filed in Superior Court on Oct. 4, Leon and Marquez, who entered into a five-year lease for 904 Farmington Ave. as of Aug. 1, 2014, have failed to pay rent to Lisaraj, LLC for the 7,000 square foot space since May 2017.

On Sept. 14, the landlord served both Leon and Marquez with a notice to quit possession of the premises by Sept. 21, but they have not complied.

Attorney Jeffrey Sachs, of Biller Sachs Raio & Zito in Hamden, who represents Lisaraj, said Wednesday that the eviction has nothing to do with other action against Los Imperios, and that eviction is standard process for a tenant that is behind in rent.

Sachs did not provide the dollar amount of monthly rent that is outstanding, and that information was not specified on the complaint.

The complaint is not a demand for payment, and stipulates that even if payment is made after the date specified to quit possession, the landlord reserves its “rights to continue with the eviction action.”

That clause is standard in an eviction proceeding, Sachs said. “We are always interested in entertaining payment.”

Leon filed an answer in Superior Court on Oct. 10, indicating that he is representing himself. In that Answer, he indicated that he agrees with all of the allegations in the complaint filed by his landlord.

In his Answer, under “Special Defenses,” Leon also indicated that he notified his landlord of violations in June, however he did not list any of those violations.

When asked is his client knows of any reasons why Leon would not have paid rent, Sachs said, “I’m not aware of any.”

In a phone interview Wednesday, Leon told We-Ha.com that he has not paid his rent because for the past four-and-a-half months, including throughout the summer, he has been without working air conditioning.

“I have all that proof,” Leon said. He said that he has been trying to come to an agreement with the landlord but that using a fan is not an acceptable solution because when it’s hot outside it just blows hot air around.

Leon said that he estimates his business has been reduced by 50 percent because of the lack of air conditioning.

“I agree that this is going on and I haven’t paid them rent,” he said regarding the complaint, however, he feels that he has justification.

Marquez has not yet filed an answer to the complaint, and Sachs said that a court date won’t be set until she files or is found in default. He anticipates a court date will be set in the next few weeks.

“Hopefully we can resolve this amicably,” Sachs said, adding that his client “has a business to run.”

A complaint has also recently been filed against Los Imperios, the business owners, and the landlord by the Town of West Hartford and Police Chief Tracey Gove, seeking an injunction to require the establishment to comply with town ordinances and to remit more than $76,000 the town has incurred for police detail that has been assigned to the business, as well as to pay the penalties that have been assessed for non-compliance with ordinances.

A hearing on that complaint has been set for Nov. 6, according to court documents.

Assistant Police Chief Robert McCue said Wednesday that Los Imperios continues to occupy the premises and provide DJ entertainment even though the establishment has had its entertainment license revoked.

The DJ entertainment has now been expanded to Tuesday night, McCue said. “We received two complaints this morning at closing, about patrons leaving and making too much noise,” he said Wednesday.

Neighbors have taken action other than just notifying police about noise and other disturbances.

Residents of the Farmington Avenue neighborhood where Los Imperios is located filed a remonstrance petition with the State Liquor Control Commission on Sept. 22, objecting to the renewal of Los Imperios’ liquor license. The renewal date is Nov. 13, 2017.

Resident Melinda Montovani, who is listed as the “agent for service” on the petition, said that there are 57 signatures on the petition. 

In their objections to the renewal of the liquor license, in a letter signed by Montovani that accompanied the petition and was provided to We-Ha.com, it is noted that neighbors have been “subjected to lewd and disorderly conduct” as patrons leave the establishment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. According to the letter, that lewd conduct includes “people engaging in sexual activity in their cars and leaving their used condoms on people’s lawns.” Patrons leaving the establishment have also urinated on lawns and bushes, and engaged in disorderly conduct including “yelling profanities, fighting, gunshots, breaking liquor bottles in the road, cars and motorcycles speeding down residential streets …”

According to Montovani’s letter to the Liquor Control Commission, this is the second time a remonstrance petition has been filed. In 2015, according to the Memorandum of Decision provided to the remonstrants, the Liquor Control Commission did not find “substantial evidence” to deny the application for a liquor permit.

Department of Consumer Protection spokesperson Lora Rae Anderson confirmed Wednesday that the remonstrance has been filed.

A date for the remonstrance hearing has not yet been set.

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