In 2008, former East Villager Kati Duncan began turning the 45-year-old Ukrainian packing and shipping shop Cosmos Parcels on 1st Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets into a jazz cafe called La Rokara. The work was never completed and Duncan, with a 25-year lease, sublet the space instead to South Brooklyn Pizza.
Now, Duncan told JVNY, she and South Brooklyn Pizza are in a legal brawl.
2000?, detail from Jim & Karla Murray
In September 2010, the pizza mini-chain took over the space next door, formerly occupied by Ruben's Empanadas (and before that, by the Caprice Curls Beauty Salon). They put a part-time art gallery inside temporarily, and today the space is plywooded for South Brooklyn's expansion.
Kati Duncan is not happy. She wrote in an email, "The trouble now is that Jim [South Brooklyn's owner] took over the Rubens Empanadas location adjacent to Rokara (without telling us), and has taken down the wall between the two stores (also done without our knowledge even though we hold a 25 year lease there). So now we're in court."
In the Memorandum of Law, as written by Duncan's lawyer and forwarded by Duncan, it states: "Plaintiff [South Brooklyn Pizza], a real estate developer and now restaurateur, coveted Rokara’s [Duncan's] primary lease from the beginning, saw that Rokara was a distressed business and had no income and little experience, and seized the opportunity to squeeze Rokara out of its valuable leasehold."
Duncan's lawyer says that South Brooklyn Pizza is "encouraging the Overlandlord to bring an eviction proceeding" against her, so they can take over the lease.
Duncan says she hopes to keep her lease, but "I don't know if that's possible now that the two stores are one."
More about this block:
1st at 7th and 8th
Kim's Is Coming