A Fayette Circuit judge has ruled in favor of Walker Properties and against the owners of the failed National Provisions restaurant in a dispute over rent and fixtures.
National Provisions at 710 National Avenue in Lexington closed in September, and that resulted in a suit filed by the property owner, Walker Properties, against the restaurant owners, Krim Boughalem and his wife, Andrea Sims.
In a ruling filed Wednesday, Judge Thomas Travis granted a summary judgment to Walker Properties, dismissed a counterclaim filed by Boughalem, and sustained a motion by Walker for declaratory judgment.
Richard Getty, attorney for Walker Properties, said the opinion and order is “a complete victory” for his client.
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The judge’s order “totally vindicates” the positions that Walker had taken, and “grants them relief on all their claims, both for breach of the lease and dismisses the counterclaim,” Getty said.
Joe Childers, an attorney for Boughalem and Sims, said his clients “are considering all options, including an appeal. We do disagree with Judge Travis’s analysis.”
A local restaurant owner was interested in leasing the vacated space, but the deal fell through. In a counterclaim, Boughalem contended that Walker Properties breached the lease by blocking a deal to sublet the business to someone else.
In addition, Boughalem and Walker Properties disagreed on several matters, including some rotting food left in the building and who owned certain fixtures put into the building.
Judge Travis said the lease is clear and there is “no ambiguity” in its language.
“Certainly, closing down the business and leaving rotting perishable food on the premises, and failing to pay utility bills would amount to an effective vacation of the premises” according to terms of the lease, Travis wrote.
Furthermore, the judge ruled that there was no breach of the lease when Walker refused consent to subletting the property. Boughalem had already breached the lease and any refusal by Walker would not have been arbitrary, the judge ruled.
Boughalem contended that fixtures such as sinks, coolers, shelving, seating and kitchen equipment that he had put in were items that he could remove from the building.
Not so, the judge said, because the lease said all such remodeling and improvements would become the property of Walker Properties upon installation.
“The court therefore finds that the disputed items are ‘improvements’ that have become the property of Walker,” the judge wrote.