Fairfield hookah lounge vows to reopen, courts seem to think otherwise
Published 9:41 am, Thursday, November 9, 2017
FAIRFIELD — The owner of the Sky Hookah Lounge is vowing to reopen his Kings Highway East business, but court records show it will be an uphill battle.
Anwar Malas, of Quincy Street, was evicted in September after failing to pay rent for three months to landlord Nannerb, LLC. Malas’ efforts to vacate the eviction order in Housing Court have been rebuffed at every turn. He has now turned to the Appellate Court, with the claim that he was not allowed to present his case before the court.
In a statement to the Fairfield Citizen, Malas said Tom Brennan, the owner of Nannerb, LLC, and his son “have made the mistake of performing a (self-help eviction) by changing the locks and trespassing on to my property.”
According to court filings, the landlord filed an eviction notice for failure to pay rent with the court on Aug. 15. According to the filing, Nannberb, LLC, entered into a two-year lease with Malas’ father starting Oct. 1, 2009. That lease ended on Sept. 20, 2011, but the hookah lounge continued as a “tenant at will on a month to month basis.”
A “notice to quit possession” was served on Aug. 7, 2017, demanding Malas and the hookah lounge quit the premises by Aug. 14, 2017.
Neither father or son, nor their attorney, showed up for a court hearing on, and on Aug. 30, 2017, Brennan filed a motion for default for failure to appear. The next day, Malas said the past due rent was offered to Brennan on Aug. 1, 2017, and that he never received a 90-day letter before the notice to quit was served. His court filing also claimed that all rent had been paid. Brennan denied those allegations.
On Sept. 13, Judge Eddie Rodriguez, Jr., filed a judgment for Brennan, and Malas was notified that he would be evicted five days from that day unless he gave the court clerk the full amount of back rent due, and completed and filed a stay of execution. Rodriguez sustained Brennan’s motion for default because no one for Sky Hookah Lounge showed up for the hearing.
Five days later, a motion was filed to open the judgment because “The defendant for the above-referenced matter was unable to attend because he was at the hospital.” The motion was signed by attorney Dennis Bradley on Sept. 15.
Rodriguez denied that motion on Sept. 25, and that same day, Malas filed a motion for a continuance on the motion to open judgment “because discovery was not complete Mr. Malas is not read (sic) with all the documentation neede (sic) to present to the court today.”
The motion for a continuance was denied the same day it was filed, with Rodriguez noting, “The motion indicates plaintiff consented to a continuance. Upon verification, the plaintiffs stated they did not consent to a continuance and are present at the court.”
On. Sept. 29, Malas sought a motion for an immediate hearing on their request that the eviction be delayed because all rent had been paid. Rodriguez again denied the motion and wrote that Malas application for a stay is not appropriate once a summary process eviction has been issued.
Malas was not deterred and on Oct. 2 made an application for an ex parte temporary injunction. He asked that the court prohibit the eviction until the court heard an accompanying motion to quash the eviction and open judgment.
Reasons given in the filing for the injunction included, “The defendant has no other safe, adequate and affordable place to live, and/or cannot move before the date set for eviction.” Other reasons cited were that the court did not allow the tenant to bring his case, and they were in the hospital on the original hearing date.
Brennan objected to Malas’ motions. He pointed out that the premises from which Malas was being evicted was a commercial building, where he operated the hookah lounge and not a residence.
He also said that a hearing was originally scheduled on Sept. 25 on the motion to open judgment. “The defendant and his son appeared in court, but his attorney did not. Instead, the attorney filed a motion for continuance while the parties were in court waiting for him.”
The objections were sustained, and a summary process eviction notice again issued on Oct. 4. That day, Malas filed with the Appellate Court, his motion stating, “The defendant was present in court and was not allowed to present his case.”
According to Malas’ statement to the newspaper, Connecticut law allows tenants to sue for damages, and for the landlord to be prosecuted for a misdemeanor.
He also said police reports of a person overdosing on heroin inside the lounge are “100 percent false” and is being looked into by his lawyer. Malas also said claims fo 500 calls for service to the hookah lounge over two year period are untrue. He said, for example, that in 2016, there were about 239 noise complaints for the entire town.
“This does not add up, It is far from the truth and was used as a weapon to defamation of character,” he said.
The 500 service calls are in reference to all calls for service connected to the hookah lounge, not just noise complaints.
Malas also questioned the summons he himself has received, as well as the zoning violation citations. He said he will “post all the proof and evidence in future articles showing the abuse of power (names disclosed for now) that have been made against Sky Hookah Lounge.