Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Locals support the Flagship Diner
From DNA Info:
Dozens of Queens residents and several elected officials came together for a rally Tuesday to support a popular diner, which is currently facing a court battle with a new landlord after more than five decades in business.
The owners of The Flagship Diner, at 138-30 Queens Blvd., which has been a community fixture since 1965, said their new landlord — Jamaica-based White Rock Management — began harassing them shortly after White Rockpurchased the site for $6.125 million last year and promptly obtained permits to knock down the restaurant and replace it with a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building containing 64 units.
On Tuesday, patrons holding signs that read “No more buildings — Save the Flagship,” “Stop Unfair Landlord” and “Stop the Harassment White Rock,” said that the diner has been like a “second home.”
The diner's owners — Vincent Pupplo, Jimmy Skartsiaris and Frank Lountzis — said they were initially hoping to keep their business open until their lease expires in October 2019, and then most likely retire.
The landlord proposed to buy them out, offering each of them $100,000, but they turned it down, the owners said.
Since then, they said, the landlord sent them several "notices to cure," requiring them to address a variety of issues within five days if they wanted to avoid eviction, including accusations that their parking lot, sidewalk and back steps are in disrepair and have to be ripped up and replaced immediately.
The owners said that their lawyer was able to obtain a “Yellowstone injunction” for each notice which temporarily suspends the time period during which they must address the issues.
In July, the restaurant owners filed a lawsuit in the Queens County Supreme Court accusing the landlord of harassing them, with the first hearing scheduled for Sept. 19.