The law firm representing the building owner and landlord at 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, previously the address of Luma on Park, released a statement in response to a lawsuit the popular restaurant filed last month against the landlord.
As detailed in an article published last week, Luma on Park’s owners filed the suit against William T. Battaglia and Foundry Commercial alleging, “...Battaglia’s improper attempt to use Luma...as [an] unsuspecting pawn in his diabolical plan to inflict financial pain and suffering upon his family members, with whom he is tied through a multitude of family companies and trusts...”
The response, from Michael C. Sasso of Sasso & Sasso, P.A., was couched as a press release for BFC Park Avenue, the landlord, and stated:
“Luma’s lawsuit is revisionist history which ignores its own actions and poor business decisions. Luma’s lease expired in April 2020 and they remained in the space until September 2020 without paying any rent, even though they continued to operate and received PPP money,” a reference to the Paycheck Protection Program loans made available because of the pandemic. “Luma voluntarily abandoned the space, removed all of the furniture and fixtures, and turned over possession to the landlord in September 2020 while still owing the landlord over $180,000 in rent. Rather than acknowledging its own choices, Luma is trying to capitalize upon a family dispute in an effort to disparage the landlord, but fails to disclose that after an emergency hearing upon the brother’s motion, the court denied the requested relief as the brother had failed to present substantial competent evidence in support of his allegations against Bill Battaglia.”
The statement concludes:
“ Park Avenue is such a special place, not just in Winter Park, but in all of Florida, that frankly the phone began ringing off the hook with interested parties once they found out Luma had left. The Landlord was relieved to find such a high-quality tenant as AVA MediterrAegean, which will add a very special touch of culinary magnificence and epicurean excellence to Park Avenue. BFC Park Avenue, LLC looks forward to being able to have a world class restaurant in this iconic location for many years to come.”
A spokeswoman for Stovash, Case & Tingley, P.A., which has filed the suit in Orange County on behalf of its client Luma on Park, said they would have no comment about the statement from Sasso. Luma on Park is suing for monetary restitution and the ability to continue operating out of the premises.