Update: Mi Piaci Battles in North Dallas in a Bitter Dispute With Landlord

The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello.
The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello.

On July 25, I reported that Mi Piaci had been locked out of their restaurant in North Dallas. I published a picture of the overlock notice posted in the front door. Late yesterday, I was contacted by Stephanie Curtis, the legal counsel for Mi Piaci restaurants.

 I am counsel for Mi Piaci restaurants. This communication is in response to your blog written for D Magazine on June 25th posted at 2:26 pm.  The message you received that the A/C wasn’t working was true. It was also true that the landlord, Prestonwood Pond, LLC, and those purporting to act on its behalf, namely Alan Aguilar of SAS & Associates, Inc., Property Manager, not only wrongfully locked out the business, but committed criminal trespassing and removed property, unplugged all the coolers containing food, busted the thermostats and turned them to heat in mid-July, and vandalized the premises in other ways.

On July 25th, Mi Piaci ‘s lawyers obtained a Writ of Reentry to the premises before noon making the picture posted on your blog an untrue account of the facts at that time.

I asked Ms. Curtis to send me a copy of the Writ of Reentry. After I reviewed the document, I noted the time stamp of 2:20pm. My post went up at 2:26pm. When I asked her to clarify, she said the hearing was at 10am and she considered the facts of my post untrue.I’m not sure why they waited six days to contact me, but I’ve posted her entire note to me which continues below.

What is true is that Brian Black and his wife Sonia have two lawsuits filed against their Mi Piaci business in North Dallas. One by the aforementioned landlord, the other from an unpaid vendor. I asked Ms. Curtis if the Blacks have paid the back rent owed to the landlord and she replied,”Yes, they have overpaid it.” Jump for the rest of her correspondence.

On July 30th, Mi Piaci ‘s lawyers filed legal action against the landlord and others and obtained a Temporary Restraining Order against Prestonwood Pond, LLC, SAS & Associates, Inc., Shira Investment Corporation, Alan Aguilar, Michael Aguilar, and Raul Aguilar from causing further damage to the business, interfering with the operations of the restaurant, blocking the company’s or its customer’s access to the building, or from further removing or destroying Mi Piaci’s property.

On July 31st, the Aguilars were supposed to attend a hearing to challenge the Writ of Reentry, but they and their lawyers failed to show and instead continued to block the company’s and its customer’s access to the premises and interfere with the restaurant’s ability to do business despite the two court orders, attached.

As a result, Judge Seider has set a hearing on Monday, August 5th at 10:00am where the Aguilars and their lawyer must appear and “show cause” as to why they should not be held in contempt of court for their wrongful actions. Mi Piaci’s owner will be seeking sanctions against the Aguilars and those in concert with them.

Mi Piaci is still launching its second location in the Park Cities set to open August 2013.

Thank you for your time,
Kindest regards
Stephanie Curtis

24 comments on “Update: Mi Piaci Battles in North Dallas in a Bitter Dispute With Landlord

  1. What a hamfisted, stupid approach by Curtis and the Mi Piaci people. Asking for an update would be one thing, but there is noting “untrue” about your post even if they had a Writ of Re-Entry 6 minutes before your post. You should ask her to identify any false statement of fact made by you (not just quoting what you were told). When she can’t, tell her you don’t like bullying from local restaurateurs or their lawyers.

    And if you want to niggle, educate her that it’s called a blog “post,” not just a “blog,” and you made no such post on June 25.

    Oh, and since the story is now that the thermostats were broken and set to heat, ask if a new A/C unit was really lifted by crane to the roof, as the guy on the phone said, or if that was, in fact, a lie.

  2. “busted the thermostats and turned them to heat”?????
    doesn’t make sense, if the thermostats were “busted”, and by that one would infer broken, how could those thermostats then work to turn on the heaters? second, the mechanical roof top units are typically called HVAC, meaning heating, venting and air conditioning. If the “A/C wasn’t working” most likely the heat wouldn’t work, too, as it is one unit providing both.
    The Landlord and their agents moved against the Tenant with the most extreme action possible, locking the tenant out of the premises. That action is not to be taken lightly, Landlord needs to have all their ducks in a row to make sure the action is by the book, and if the Tenant has not been correctly noticed as per their lease the landlord opens themselves to huge financial exposure.
    this is all very odd to say the least…keep us informed, this should be interesting.

  3. pretty impressive that the “counsel” uses the phrase “busted” must have gotten a bargain.

  4. Nancy your like an old version of a highschool gossip queen. Not once do you seem to give MiPiaci the benefit of the doubt. Looks like a judge sure did. Are you on the payroll for d magazine or the landlords in question?

  5. I was thinking the same thing. I hope she uses the word “y’all” somewhere in her brief.

  6. I personally walked into the building to see the protective covers for the AC’s busted open and the heat turned to 95 degrees. The coolers with all meat & produce unplugged which were a total loss obviously. Complete sabotage, not just to the restaurant, but to the many employees and their families that have worked and depended on Mi Piaci for decades. As for a landlord having all their ducks in a row, that would explain why the aguilar’s didn’t even show up to court for their own complaint. I.E. It was groundless.

  7. I personally walked into the building to see the protective covers to the AC thermostats busted and the heat turned to 95 degrees. Also all our coolers with meat, fish, & produce unplugged which were a total loss. Complete sabotage. Not just to the restaurant, but also to the many employees and their families that have dutifuly worked and depened on Mi Piaci for decades. As for a lanlord having all their ducks in a row, that would explain why the aguilars didn’t even show up to court on their own complaint. I. E. it was groundless.

  8. I just heard the news and will support Mi Piaci in the new location. Surprised D Magazine writers seem to be very focused on the negative aspects of this issue instead of just saying ” MiPiaci and landlord have issues. While we wait for resolution – know that MiPiaci is opening a new location in August.” That’s really all we need to know right now. The other stuff seems a little ugly to report on yet for both the landlord and Mi Piaci.

  9. Very much in the vein Lawson/Witte at Straburget. At least she didn’t threaten to sue

  10. I don’t understand why you people are getting on the writer. I’m in the restaurant business and I don’t know why a landlord would lock out a tenant without a reason I looked up the lawsuit and it shows the restaurant owners owed 43,000 in back rent. My landlord would have booted me long before.

  11. I agree with you. For some reason, people seem to think that writers are supposed to act like PR reps or something, regurgitating glowing press releases for a living. As a reader, I would like the news: the good, the bad, and the ugly. As long as nothing is made up then it’s fair game as far as I’m concerned.

  12. Obviously the lawyer who said the thermostat was “busted” is no expert on HVAC. It is possible that the cooling portion of a roof top could have not been working 100% (low refrigerant, dirty coil, dirty filter, etc), resulting in a warm restaurant and high electric bills, while the heating portion (gas or electric) was fully functional. As far as “busting” the thermostat to turn on the heating, someone may have broken the locking covers in order to access the thermostat in order to switch it from cooling to heating and raise the setpoint. If the actual thermostat was busted, the roof top unit wouldn’t be running at all.

  13. Regardless of the outcome of this lockout the facts are simple…Brian Black and Mi Piaci are not going to be missed at their current location or the one at Preston Center….who cares about this loser trying to save face by having his lawyer post a fake reason for being behind on rent….

  14. Move On – your rude. No one should get on here and call someone a loser unless they are going to put their real names on here. If you have personal issues with Brian Black or Mi Piaci – this is not the forum. This whole commenting should be monitored Nancy. I don’t think you meant for this to become a bashing Mi Piaci or a bashing the landlord site.

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  18. You are right about the money owed for rent. What gets me is they want everyone to think highly of their restaurant–it sure is good food when you buy the finest ingredients and aren’t paying the rent for several years.

  19. Oh cry me a river! I would be pissed if someone owed me rent. I wouldn’t be a thug about collecting it, but clearly, Mi Piaci is no angel.

  20. BTW Catherine…. aren’t you tough showing your first name? How many Catherine’s are there in DFW?? Big deal. Love Tom

  21. Looks like karma is finally catching up to you Brian!!!! Grinning from ear to ear reading this :-)

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  23. MB—Karma hit him like a brick in the face a few days ago!!!! to all the above post that slammed the landlord(s) go by and look at the Preston center mi piaci. closed for non payment of rent. Doesn’t seem to be a landlord issue. seems to be a Brian black issue of being a scum tenant/business owner.