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Pavilion Fights Back: Reverse Lease Decision Or Be Sued

Owners of Avon Pavilion did not cause Hurricane Sandy, attorney says

The Borough of Avon apparently thinks that Robert Fishman, the owner of the Avon Pavilion, single-handedly caused Hurricane Sandy, his attorney says.

In a strongly worded letter to Avon Borough officials, Wall Township-based attorney Dennis A. Collins said there is no other reason to terminate the restaurant’s lease, because the agreement between the borough and Fishman says it is the town’s responsibility to rebuild the restaurant if it is destroyed by an act of nature.

The lease, a copy of which was obtained by Wall Patch, says that if the Pavilion is “damaged or destroyed by the elements, fire, acts of God, the ‘Landlord’ will repair the premises returning same to the current condition” within a reasonable timeframe. Conversely, it says that if the restaurant is destroyed or damaged by an act of the tenant, the borough can terminate the agreement and walk away without obligation.

“The only explanation for the decision to terminate (the Pavilion’s lease) is that you believe my client caused Superstorm Sandy,” Collins said in his letter, dated Jan. 29. “Clearly this is absurd.”

There is a state law -- N.J.S.A. 46:8-7 – that says a lease agreement can be severed if leased property is destroyed. But that law also says it does not apply if there is a lease that says otherwise, according to the statute.

“Fortunately, the Borough of Avon prepared a lease agreement that dealt with the destruction of the premises,” Collins said in his letter.

Collins says he and Fishman will begin the process of suing the borough within 14 days if the matter is not resolved.

It was not immediately known if the borough intended to stand by its decision. A call to Barry A. Cooke, borough attorney, was not immediately returned.

Collins in a telephone interview Friday said he hoped it the matter could be resolved without involving the courts.

“We hope that fair-minded people read the this the way it was intended, because no one can conclude that it justifies the termination of the lease,” Collins said.

Dame Bridgid February 05, 2013 at 03:23 PM
The town of Avon signed a legal binding agreement that was not superseded by the new statute. That new law even contained a clause acknowledging leases specifying that the town WILL rebuild in case of natural disaster would continue to be binding. That law simply does not not change the fact that the lease is legal, no matter how it is interpreted by Avon's board. Losing this case in court will have an effect for years to come. Higher taxes, & loss of business revenues at a time when Avon is attempting to rebuild. Plus a negative reputation that will cling to the town for a long time. Their actions truly do not appear to be a winning strategy in my opinion.
Dame Bridgid February 05, 2013 at 03:54 PM
If my grandmother were alive, she would be saying, only one of them thinking clearly means the board's ratio of wits has dropped below half, to 33%. I will try to be more charitable instead, by hoping the gentlemen in question were simply less than alert. Maybe they will wake up in time to save the town the expensive lawsuit that will result if the board fails to honor Avon's agreement.
jerseyswamps February 05, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Oh, well, if the contract is legal then we can do away with all CONTRACT LAW attorneys and lay off a bunch of judges. There are all kinds of ways to challenge and void leases. Many of the reasons are good, logical reasons. This is why we have lawyers and courts. I would expect, demand, my elected officials challenge any agreement that was not in the best interest of the town. What kind of deal was it that requires the town to rebuild HIS business to His building plans? 25 year lease? Whatever he pays it should at least be in the ballpark of fair market value. If there was an oil spill off our coast and the whole jersey shore shut down for a few years you bet he wouldn't want to honor his lease. The courts would decide.
Dembones February 05, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Bigotry is alive and well in the Boro of Avon. Mayor Archie Bunker and his sidekick have been looking to out Mr Fishman and his crew for some time. I guess they feel now is as good a time as any to do so. This has nothing to do with a superstorm. Only super hatred.
florence ray February 05, 2013 at 11:12 PM
i tried to leave a comment and it was deleted i guess the politicians did not like what i said BRING BACK THE FISHMAN FAMILY AND THE AVON PAVILLION DONT U PEOPLE HAVE A CONSCIENCE look at the jobs that were lost all the kids going to college trying to make a living in the summer

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