A consultant who says she helped the new owners of the former Eagle Tavern secure the once-popular South of Market leather bar is suing them, claiming they haven’t paid her.
In a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court on January 16, Colleen Meharry, of Urban Group Real Estate, says Mike Leon and Alex Montiel, who announced their plans to reopen the shuttered space in September, owe her thousands of dollars.
Meharry entered a written and oral contract with the men in March 2011, the file says. They agreed Meharry would provide consulting services related to leasing, purchasing, and renovating the bar, which closed in April 2011 after the former owners got into a rent dispute with the landlord. A reopening date for the tavern, now known as SF Eagle, hasn’t been announced.
Leon and Montiel agreed to pay her $8,000, but they never signed the contract. The record says, they “repeatedly affirmed its terms to Meharry and agreed that it would be signed and returned.” A copy of the agreement dated March 10, 2011 shows Meharry’s signature, but no signatures from Leon or Montiel.
Despite the men not signing the contract, Meharry did everything she said she’d do, according to the complaint, which says that by August 28, 2012, Leon and Montiel had still refused to pay her.
Additionally, the record shows, in May 2012, Urban Group entered into a non-circumvention agreement, in which Leon and Montiel agreed that for two years, they wouldn’t try to contact the landlord, John Nikitopoulos. They also agreed not to do “any other act to interfere with Urban Group’s rights to fees or commission in a transaction” between Leon and Montiel and Nikitopoulos. (Leon and Montiel signed this agreement, the file shows.)
According to the complaint, Urban Group lived up to its side of the deal, “and was the procuring agent in securing a purchaser and lessee” for the Eagle.
However, on August 28, the defendants breached the contract “by entering into a lease, purchase agreement, and other transactions” with Nikitopoulos that allowed them to acquire the bar, the document says.
Nikitopoulos is also a defendant in the lawsuit. Among other things, the complaint says, Nikitopoulos knew of Leon and Montiel’s agreement with Urban Group, but in August, he interfered with the contract by concluding lease and purchase transactions with Leon and Montiel without involving or informing Urban Group.
“John encouraged Mike and Alex to breach the contract so as to have the advantage of the buyers and lessees procured by plaintiff without paying compensation,” the file says. As a result, Leon and Montiel breached the agreement, Urban Group claims.
“Urban Group has a long client relationship with Mike and Alex the ultimate buyers and lessees and had worked for months in structuring a transaction in which they could acquire the assets of the Eagle Tavern and a lease for the property,” the document says.
The file also says, “John encouraged Mike and Alex to conceal the transactions from Urban Group so that he could have the benefit of the transactions without having to compensate Urban Group for its services.”
In the complaint, Urban Group claims that it prepared a lease and procured its execution by Leon and Montiel, but, as a copy of the lease included with the documents shows, Nikitopoulos didn’t sign it.
The file says that the three defendants promised Urban Group a commission of $20,000 for procuring the lease, and the document indicates that Nikitopoulos orally promised the firm an additional $20,000 commission. However, the defendants breached the commission agreement by completing the deal without Urban Group, and they failed to pay the firm, according to the complaint.
Meharry and Urban Group are seeking damages including the tens of thousands of dollars they say are owed to them from the defendants breaching the contracts, attorneys’ fees, and other costs.
A case management conference has been set for June 19.
Meharry wasn’t immediately available for comment. Her attorney, Mark Romeo, said, the lawsuit “is not that big of a case in general,” and “I don’t know that it affects the fate of the bar.”
Reached by phone, Leon said he couldn’t talk at the time, and hung up. Montiel wasn’t available by phone and didn’t immediately respond to an email sent to the bar. They don’t appear to have an attorney.
Nikitopoulos didn’t immediately respond to an interview request, and it’s not clear who’s representing him in the case.
Kok bar appears to be in transition
Data from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control show that Kok, the gay bar at 1225 Folsom Street, is being sold to new owners.
David Morgan, who’s listed as the managing member of the current liquor license, hasn’t provided comment on the sale, which the ABC says is pending.
Shawn Magee and Christopher Milstead, officers of Magstead, Inc., which is listed as the prospective licensee, couldn’t be reached. The record says they are doing business as Driftwood.