The Gold Dust Lounge was sued by its landlord for breach of contract, bad faith and contractual interference late yesterday. The property owners, the Handlery family, is asking the Court to make the Gold Dust live up to its word and stop illegally operating in a space the landlord has leased to another tenant.
Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, the law firm representing the Handlerys, said that it had no choice but to file these claims on Thursday to protect its rights against the lawsuit filed first by the Gold Dust.
The Handlery family attorneys also asked the court to reject a lawsuit from bar tenants Jim Bovis and Tasios Bovis that claims their signing of a lease with an early termination clause was the result of deception.
In a new twist, Handlery spokesman Sam Singer the Bovis’s claim of trickery “doesn’t make sense.”
“The Gold Dust Lounge was operating without a lease in March 2011 when the landlord offered to extend, and the tenant accepted, a new lease that allowed the bar to stay longer and had an early termination right. Why, when you have the immediate right to evict someone, would you hatch an elaborate scheme to throw them out in the future?
“Statements by James, Tasios and Nick Bovis that they were unaware of the early termination clause in the Gold Dust Lounge lease is absurd in that these are individuals who run three separate companies and operate bars and restaurants in San Francisco and Burlingame that have multiple contracts with vendors and purveyors. There was no deception,” Singer said.
The Handlery family is asking the court to hold the bar and its operators accountable for its failure to abide by its lease and for contractual interference with the Handlery’s lease with the new tenant. The lawsuit names Bovis, Inc., its principals James N. Bovis, Tasios N. Bovis, and Nick Bovis, as well as other individuals to be named later for assisting them in illegally occupying in the space.
“It’s sad to see that spitefulness and hubris have overtaken the brothers, Tasios Bovis and Jim Bovis and his son, Nick Bovis, who runs Lefty O’Doul’s Bar, which the Handlery’s rent to him. Instead of acting like gentlemen and businesspeople, they have resorted to ugliness that is unbecoming of them. We hope that the Bovis family can redeem their good name and values and move the Gold Dust Lounge to another location to allow its customers to chance to enjoy the bar in the future,” Singer added.
“Look at Gordon Biersch Brewery. Its landlord didn’t renew their lease after 20 years. Are they trying to landmark their old space? No. Are they remaining in violation of their lease agreement? No. They are real businesspeople and professionals. They are searching for a new location so their customers can continue to enjoy their historic brew and food.”
Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Commission voted against granting historic designation to the Gold Dust, a tourist bar since 1966, by a 5-2 vote. The decision came on the heels of the city staff recommending against historic designation as well as a letter from San Francisco Architectural Heritage, which also found the bar did not have historic merit.