In First Judicial District Court Wednesday afternoon in Los Alamos are, from left, Terry Salazar of Trinity Midtown LLC, Attorney Phil Dabney and Marcel Remillieux who along with his wife, Stephanie Pasareanu owns Fleur De Lys, a popular French Grocery Store and Cafe on Trinity Drive. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Trinity Midtown LLC is seeking to evict Marcel Remillieux and Stephanie Pasareanu from the premises that houses their business Fleur de Lys at 1460 Trinity Drive.
Although the complaint was filed Aug. 7 in First Judicial District Court, little had been said about it in the community until a hearing Wednesday before Judge Jason Lidyard but hundreds of pages of documents have been filed with the Court in the case.
Trinity Midtown’s business dealings appear to be managed by local commercial realtor Terry Salazar who alleges that Fleur de Lys defaulted on its lease by “cooking and fabricating products and operating a restaurant style bistro” on the premises. Salazar maintains that the lease, which was executed in 2017, only allowed the premises to be used for “retail”. The complaint alleges that cooking equipment Fleur de Lys uses releases grease vapors that may require a permit from the Los Alamos Fire Marshall or ventilation and fire suppression equipment. It also states that Fleur de Lys placed two banner signs on an exterior wall without seeking approval from Salazar that were in violation of the Los Alamos County ordinance on signs.
The complaint states that Remillieux posted false and defamatory statements about Salazar on social media that might be in violation of New Mexico’s anti-harassment statutes. It says Remillieux falsely accused Salazar of being a bully, told people to “run, run far away,” of being a “nightmare” to work with, and said that interacting with Salazar is like “hell on earth”.
Trinity Midtown’s attorney Frank Salazar sent a letter July 17 to Fleur de Lys giving notice of default under the lease and giving the opportunity to cure the default by ceasing cooking on the premises. On Aug. 2, because Fleur de Lys had not ceased cooking , Trinity terminated the lease and gave notice to vacate the premises within three days.
Court documents show that the property was leased from 2017 for $2,400 a month and the permitted use was listed on the lease as “retail”. The lease also specified that the space could not be used to fabricate any products. The letter from Trinity complains that cooking was being done on a hot place. It claimed Fleur de Lys placed signs on the outside of the premises that were not compliant with the lease. Trinity also alleged that Fleur de Lys dis not get a permit for food service . It addresses Trinity’s concerns that they had insured the premises as a retail business when Fleur de Lys was operating a restaurant.
Trinity also accuses Fleur de Lys of “waging a personal vendetta” against Salazar on social media which invades his personal privacy and “appears intended to harass” him.
“Much of what has been complained about in the defamatory postings can be addressed by your reading and complying with the lease,” the letter states.
It demanded an immediate cease and desist from the “vendetta” and removal of the “defamatory, libelous and slanderous content from Facebook and all other media platforms.”
In an Aug. 16 letter, Fleur de Lys, through its attorney Phil Dabney said the entire lease must be read in the context of the parties rather than in the vacuum of the paragraphs referred to by Trinity. Fleur de Lys denied using the premises in any way that created a lease violation. They claimed they had taken the signs down and removed the Facebook posts. They said the statements on Facebook were true and did not violate any statutes, that Salazar was offended and had not before that contended that Fleur de Lys was violating the lease.
Fleur de Lys maintains Salazar was aware of their intention to cook on the premises from their business plan which they had presented to him. They state that Salazar was instrumental in helping them to obtain permits to build a commercial kitchen on the premises, that they have text messages where Salazar refers to “the restaurant” and that until recently Salazar was a regular customer at Fleur de Lys.
Fleur de Lys says it has never been in violation of the terms of the lease has spent thousands of dollars on the premises, that the business is the talk of the town and has become very profitable since the introduction of the crepes. Fleur de Lys believes Salazar will likely face an outpouring of anger from customers.
In other court papers, Trinity says its worst fears came to fruition when an inspection by Los Alamos Fire Department “revealed a an oven hidden and installed in a store room”, a toaster oven “heating up a counter top” and two crepe cooking appliances. Trinity also had a letter from Waller’s Plumbing saying they had identified damage to H-VAC filters and predicting further damages to the duct work unless cooking operations ceased.
Fleur de Lys accuses Salazar of resorting to perjury in an affidavit filed with the Court as well as making attempts to sway the Los Alamos County Fire Marshall into taking action against Fleur de Lys to shut down their business operation. Fleur de Lys also notes that Salazar has continued to accept the rent for the premises for the months since annoucing the termination of the lease.
After listening to both sides, Wednesday, Judge Lidyard said he was curious as to the information Salazar had in his knowledge and when it came to his knowledge. Judge Lidyard said he was reserving ruling on all the matters presented to him until there was an opportunity to develop those through discovery. Asked by Trinity’s attorney if he was satisfied that the lease did not allow a restaurant, Judge Lidyard said he had not ruled on that issue and was still considering it. He granted 90 days for Dabney to conduct discovery and ordered that the status quo be maintained during that time.
A hearing date will be set by Judge Lidyard once he is notified that Dabney’s discovery has been completed.