Pie Face hit with second lawsuit in the US, Eli Greenblat

Both lawsuits relate to Pie Face’s ill-fated push into the US in 2011 when it burst on to the New York food scene with seven stores dotted across the city, but then quickly closed six.

www.theaustralian.com.au
December 11, 2014

Pie Face hit with second lawsuit in the US
Eli Greenblat

THE crumbling Pie Face fast-food chain, which lurched into voluntary administration last month and is fighting to keep its remaining local stores open, has been hit with a second lawsuit in the US — this time from an aggrieved New York City landlord claiming nearly $US50,000 ($60,100) in unpaid rent.

It adds to the growing legal headache facing the collapsed group, with a lawsuit launched earlier this year by a New York builder who claims Pie Face still owes it nearly $US120,000 in unpaid bills relating to the fitout of a store near Hell’s Kitchen.

Both lawsuits relate to Pie Face’s ill-fated push into the US in 2011 when it burst on to the New York food scene with seven stores dotted across the city, but then quickly closed six.

At its peak Pie Face was featured on American morning television while iconic late night TV host David Letterman crossed live during his show to a 24-hour New York Pie Face store that had opened next to his CBS TV studios on Broadway, later having pies brought to him on stage.

“We’ve opened and we are never going to close again,’’ the Pie Face staffer told Letterman and his millions of viewers. Two years later all but the company’s store in Hell’s Kitchen has been stripped bare and closed.

A claim lodged with the Supreme Court of New York, and obtained by The Australian, reveals the owner of a building at 469 Seventh Avenue, just a few blocks from Madison Square Gardens, is suing the Pie Face and its US arm, Pie Face Holdings, for abandoning its ground-floor store four months ago.

The lawyer for the landlord claims Pie Face failed to provide the landlord the requisite 60 days written notice that it was going to walk away from the lease and upon its exit in September left the premises “severely damaged and in need of repair’’.

Pie Face also owed rent on the premises and could be up for further payments for last month even though it has abandoned the store.

“The tenant (Pie Face) has failed to pay any rent and additional rent of $US47,148.50 through (to) October 1, 2014,’’ the court complaint states.

“Tenant has defaulted under the lease by failing to pay base rent and additional rent … The arrears of tenant shall increase after November 1, 2014.’’

The lease agreement for the store on Seventh Avenue shows Pie Face was up for a rental bill of $US360,000 for the first year, rising to $US370,800 in year two, $US381,924 in year three and — if it had lasted long enough — $US598,985 in rent for year 15.

A billing statement from Colliers International and addressed to Pie Face founder and chief executive Wayne Homschek details the missed rental payment for October and outstanding bill of just over $US47,000. Copies of the lease for the Seventh Avenue store show Mr Homschek signed on behalf of the tenant .

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