Unfortunately, not every Tale that I tell ends in a “Happily Ever After”.
I represent various property owners throughout Gotham City, and one such owner is lovely elderly Asian couple, whom I shall call “The Miyagis”. Mr. Miyagi bought a beautiful old building in Gotham City, where the street-level space was perfect for a large restaurant, and there were a dozen charming brownstone-style residential units above the restaurant. Miyagi and his wife had a waiting list of people looking to lease the apartments, and got a giant national restaurant chain, which I shall call “Thank Johnny, It’s Cobra Kai” or “TJI Cobra” to lease the restaurant. They entered into a ten year lease, with an option for a second ten year term. Around year 15, TJI Cobra entered into an additional ten year lease, with an option for a second ten year term.
Three years into the new lease, the world changed, it was March 2020, and Gotham City was shut down. The Riddler stopped telling jokes. Catwoman took a cat nap. The Penguin went to go hide in his igloo. To make matters worse, Gotham City’s legislature passed a law that no tenant, residential or commercial, could be evicted or pursued for non-payment. In fact, they also passed a law that no commercial business was obligated to pay the rent! There would be no penalties, no late fees, and no interest permitted, either. As a result, TJI Cobra immediately stopped paying rent. All their employees were furloughed. Gotham City was No Man’s Land.
The Miyagis thought that this building would be their retirement. The legacy that they could leave to Daniel-san or Julie Pierce. But alas, with TJI Cobra not paying rent, the Miyagis were unable to pay the property tax, and started to struggle with their daily expenses.
Then, in June, a glimmer of light appeared, when the Governor of Gotham, allowed restaurants to open, with the limited business of serving take-out, delivery, and even full service and alcohol service curbside! TJI Cobra immediately opened up, took advantage of these changes, and got all their furloughed employees out of the body bags they were in.
When the biggest sports night in America came around in February 2021, yes, the All-Valley Karate Tournament, where the Halftime Show Performer was none other than the “The Weekdays”, TJI Cobra advertised in several 30 second spots, which no doubt increased their visibility.
Yet, TJI Cobra never paid any rent. Not a single penny.
We got involved in the Summer of 2021, and reached out to TJI Cobra to get some sort of payment arrangement, or that I would potentially file a suit for some intentional tort. Their attorneys, Kreese, Silver, & Dutch, essentially told me that fear does not exist in their law firm.
Before I could make any recommendation to the Miyagis, they told me that they were forced to sell the building, and move back to Okinawa. TJI Cobra still operate their restaurant, and as far as I know, probably are not paying rent to the new owners.
Timothy Wan is the Senior Partner of the firm Smith Carroad Levy Wan & Parikh, in Commack, New York, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and has never caught a housefly with chopsticks.