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City Sends Cease And Desist To Downtown Brewery

Stainless steel tanks are pictured before installation at the Jamestown Brewing Company in 2019. The city sent JBC owners a cease and desist to prevent the selling of assets. P-J file photo

The decision not to reopen the Jamestown Brewing Company comes with it a series of decisions.

Among them is what to do with the equipment inside the 115-121 W. Third St. brewery and restaurant, most of which remains in like-new condition due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the closure of restaurants in mid-March.

JBC co-owner Jon McLellan II said the interior of the property has already been appraised, and noted that “buyers are already lined up.”

“We haven’t defaulted on any payments to our lenders,” McLellan said. “We still own all of the equipment.”

McLellan said it’s not as easy as opening the front doors and backing up a truck. He said the pandemic will likely delay any immediate plans.

“COVID is a huge factor in this,” he said, “so we’re just trying to figure out our way through this.”

Other factors may play a role in the future of the equipment, including more than a dozen stainless steel tanks.

The city of Jamestown recently sent McLellan a cease and desist from potentially selling assets within the brewery. Elliot Raimondo, city corporation counsel, sent the letter dated July 2 and noted the city’s stake with JBC.

“The city is a potential creditor and lien holder in the matter through the (Jamestown Local Development Corporation),” Raimondo said. “Any sell-off of key brewery assets will require the consent of all lien holders with releases before any sale may occur. At this time, no consent from the city had been received. Therefore, I am directing that you cease and desist from selling off any brewery assets.”

JBC, among other assistance and incentives, received a $180,000 Jamestown Local Development Corporation loan.

The cease and desist comes as Erie County State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker recently signed an eviction order that was the result of a lawsuit brought by GPatti Inc., owner and developer and the building that houses the brewery. Patti has been seeking to evict JBC for failure to pay rent and is looking to possibly bring in a new tenant to run a brewery.

Walker gave an oral decision in March awarding GPatti possession of JBC back to the developer. The eviction order was not signed until just recently due to COVID-19 that ceased most court functions across New York state.

A possible eviction even now, however, might be delayed because the brewery has received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. McLellan noted an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that, among other stipulations, relates directly to preventing evictions due to the pandemic.

The order reads: “There shall be no initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of either an eviction of any residential or commercial tenant, for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any residential or commercial mortgage, for nonpayment of such mortgage, owned or rented by someone that is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of sixty days beginning on June 20, 2020.”

Matthew Miller, a Buffalo attorney representing Patti, responded to McLellan’s affidavit in a letter to Walker. He said the “tenant’s position on this issue is nothing short of a ruse intended to further delay the inevitable while it continues to remain in possession GPatti’s commercial property without the payment of a single penny toward the rent (or anything else) that is owed.”

Miller questioned what the EIDL loan was used for and why no rent payments have been made.

“Because the tenant here has done nothing to show that its alleged financial hardship did not pre-date COVID-19 … the eviction order and warrant that have been signed by your honor should be entered at once,” Miller told Walker.

Miller did not return a call last week seeking comment.

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