The two-month legal battle between Maxwell’s restaurant and leasing company BMP continues after BMP withdrew its lawsuit.
The dispute that has kept the landmark joint on Wall Street closed since Dec. 13, 2013 is far from finished.
The owners of the building, BMP, filed a lawsuit against Maxwell’s owner John Lichter in early December claiming he failed to pay rent.
The civil case was scheduled to go to the Morgantown Magistrate Court Tuesday at 4.30 p.m. but was canceled after BMP withdrew.
“He dropped his complaint, but the damages remain and keep piling up,” Lichter said.
BMP did not inform Lichter and his representatives about the withdrawal, and Lichter said he didn’t find out about it until the day before the original court date.
Last week, a representative for BMP claimed Lichter withdrew from the case, and Lichter was waiting to remove his things from the restaurant.
“Our attorney is really confident,” Lichter said. “When they withdrew their complaint we didn’t find out at all. (My) attorney called the magistrate to find out that it was canceled.”
Lichter and his wife have invested more than $100,000 in the restaurant since summer 2013 and are frustrated about not being able to run their business, as they claim to have paid rent on time.
With the cold weather in Morgantown in January, pipes in the basement of the restaurant froze and burst, causing a flood in the restaurant.
The store above Maxwell’s, UniversiTees, saw a large stain developing on the carpet inside the store as a result of the pipes breaking, and Lichter now assumes his equipment inside the restaurant has been destroyed.
“The pipe broke, and I guess there is enough pressure shooting against the ceiling in the basement that it damaged the T-shirt shop upstairs,” Lichter said. “The police are following it, but they are not sure on whether to go in or not at this time, especially since we’re still in court.”
Lichter doesn’t currently have access to the restaurant, but from looking in through the windows, he said a lot of his private items and equipment are gone, and there appears to have been a party thrown in the restaurant where Maxwell’s beer was consumed.
“It sounds petty, but it’s a violation,” Lichter said.
Both parties of the legal battle still claim to be right, and Lichter could not comment on what will happen next.