Grill owners get new lease on life

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Bankruptcy: Judge rules in Park’s favor regarding landlord’s actions

By John Severance

For now, the Central Avenue Grill in Los Alamos will remain open under the ownership of Min Sung Park.
“The judge (Robert H. Jacobvitz) ruled yesterday the lease has not been properly terminated and it is still in effect,” Park’s attorney George M. Moore said in a telephone interview this morning.
“Now, we need to get the judge to approve the assumption of the lease and that will be the next step.
“We need to show the judge we will be able to cure the existing debts under the lease, pay the back rent within a reasonable period and honor the remaining part of the lease.”
A post on the Central Avenue Facebook page said, “In spite of recent events, the Central Avenue Grill will proudly continue to serve its loyal customers and many more for years to come! Thank you to all who supported us!”
A number of parties had been awaiting the results of a meeting that took place last Thursday in Albuquerque between attorneys for Central Avenue Grill owners Min and Monica Park, attorneys for the restaurant’s landlords C1C2 Investments of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Jacobvitz.
The judge’s decision, on whether the Park’s downtown property lease remains intact, was the central question.
Park explained in a previous interview that due to the ups and downs in the Los Alamos economy over the last few years, he occasionally fell behind on his lease payments of about $8,500 per month, which technically put the restaurant in default on its lease obligations.
However, Park said he was always able to get the rent caught up, and the landlord didn’t press the matter until last summer.
The Central Avenue Grill landlord informed him in August that he no longer had a lease, indicating that Park needed to vacate the 4,800 square-foot space.
The Parks declared bankruptcy Aug. 12 in United States Federal Court in Albuquerque.
Park said that they filed bankruptcy to stop the eviction and to give him time to fight the action in court.
Court records indicate that the Parks have accrued a list of creditors and debts of more than $6 million and growing.
A new creditor was added to the list last Friday, which includes the Internal Revenue Service at $900,000, the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department at $220,000, and $50,000 to C1C2 Investments for back rent on the lease for Central Avenue Grill.
The bankruptcy filing also shows that the Parks owe money to a number of banks including $301,745 to Los Alamos National Bank, which is listed as a major secured creditor.
Other debts include $17,814 to Bank of America, $12,454 to Chase Bank USA and $7,152 to Capital One, among other creditors.
Park said he had few alternatives left when he declared bankruptcy Aug. 12 in United States Federal Court in Albuquerque.
Park has operated Central Avenue Grill, 1789 Central Ave., as well as his Osaka Grill and Seafood restaurant, 3501 Zafarano Dr., in Santa Fe under “debtor-in-possession” status since filing for Chapter 11 reorganization.
In the bankruptcy proceedings, Jacobvitz granted Park, his wife and co-debtor, Sohyank (Monica) Park, time to reorganize their finances. Whether the husband and wife team would be able to continue operating the eatery hinged on the question of the validity of their lease on the Central Avenue Grill location.
 “When we purchased Central Avenue Grill in 2005, we had a vision of creating a community gathering place … room for dancing, celebrating … the heart of the community,” Park said last month. “I’ve never lost sight of that vision and intend to fight to keep Central Avenue Grill operating for the community.”
Since acquiring Central Avenue Grill from Denise and Mike Lane, the Parks have routinely hosted charitable events that have encompassed donating a percentage of an evening’s meals to the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, Friday night dances for area youth, and the annual Red and Black Ball fundraiser for the Family YMCA, along with a host of other community events.