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Coach House operators say they stole nothing

The two sides in the recent closure of The Coach House restaurant in Lexington are continuing to exchange allegations over equipment allegedly missing from the premises.

Meanwhile, Lexington police say they're continuing to investigate the case.

Karen Zamareh, who operated the restaurant with her husband, Nasser Zamareh, insisted in a telephone interview that they removed no equipment from the building that didn't belong to them.

The Zamarehs ran The Coach House from early May until late July under a lease agreement with Post Road Partners LLC, which owns the facility on South Broadway.

After the restaurant abruptly closed on July 30, a police report was filed alleging that at least $32,000 worth of property had disappeared from the premises.

”There was no theft,“ Karen Zamareh said. ”We had invoices for anything and everything we took out of there. We took only what belonged to us.“

But Ben Levy, one of the principals in Post Road Partners, countered on Wednesday that the Zamarehs had removed items from the restaurant and then sold them to raise money that they used to buy the restaurant equipment.

”We have evidence and eye witnesses that they sold our equipment as a down payment on a few pieces of equipment that they purchased,“ Levy said.

According to Levy, all of the equipment in The Coach House at the time the Zamarehs leased it was detailed in the lease agreement that the couple signed with Post Road Partners.

”They traded in several large items which were owned by us,“ he said. ”I believe that's theft. The night they left, they also took our 52-inch TV that was hanging on the wall.“

The unexpected closure of the restaurant early on the evening on July 30 and accompanying allegations sparked a flurry of local news coverage.

Karen Zamareh said the restaurant closed that night because business was bad.

”There was no business, so we closed,“ she said. ”We had closed at 8 and 9 o'clock on other occasions. There was no duplicity in that.“

According to Karen Zamareh, the items she and her husband took included a counter-height refrigerator, a freezer, a salad-prep table, three televisions, a computer cash-register system and some specialty desert plates.

”We took the liquor and the wine,“ she said. ”We bought it. It was ours.“

She said she and her husband have cooperated with police in their continuing investigation into the case.

Ann Gutierrez, the police department's public affairs officer, said the case is still open, although no charges have been filed so far.

According to Levy, the Zamarehs owe Post Road Partners an estimated $40,000 for missing equipment, plus a liability of more than $100,000 a year on a five-year lease they signed.

Meanwhile, he said he and his partners now are looking someone new to lease or buy The Coach House.