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Canton bar owner awarded $115K judgment

A Glen Burnie man has been awarded a nearly $115,000 judgment against his two former business associates in the purchase and operation of a Canton bar.

Angelo Micklos, Delio Pennachia and Walter Lupo formed Canton Entourage Inc. in June 2006 to operate Lager’s Pub on Fait Avenue. The trio used the home of Micklos’ mother as collateral for a $189,750 business loan from Wachovia Bank. Neither Pennachia nor Lupo qualified for a loan, according to Micklos’ complaint filed in September 2009 in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

The business relationship ended almost as soon it began, according to Stanford G. Gann Jr., Micklos’ lawyer, with both Pennachia and Lupo selling their interests in the bar to third parties. One of the new associates was active for a while but then left, while the other ultimately bought the bar from Micklos, Gann said.

“Micklos individually carried the burden of the parties’ joint venture, devoting all of his available time to the business in an effort to maximize the value of Canton and the chance to satisfy as much debt as possible to mitigate damages,” the complaint states.

Gann said the bank threatened foreclosure on Micklos’ mother’s home.

“He had no choice but to make sure [the loan] got paid,” said Gann, of Levin & Gann P.A. in Towson.

In all, Micklos paid $170,000 to Wachovia, $7,400 to Baltimore Gas & Electric for utilities, $6,000 for an accountant and $3,800 for a computer system, according to the complaint.

Gann said Lager’s Pub was “bleeding money” and Micklos had $300,000 in personal losses. He sold the bar in June 2009, Gann said, and filed suit against his former associates three months later.

During a one-day trial Nov. 9 before Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts, Gann provided a written agreement showing that the defendants were not relieved of the bank debt even when they sold their share of the business. Ballou-Watts’ judgment requires Pennachia and Lupo to pay Micklos their one-third share of the balance of the bank loan, or more than $57,000 each.

Jennifer Ryan Lazenby of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP in Towson, who represented the defendants, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Whether Micklos receives any of the money awarded to him remains to be seen. Pennachia filed for bankruptcy Nov. 19, according to court records, and Gann said he thought Lupo also would be filing for bankruptcy soon. Still, Micklos was “relieved” by the judge’s verdict vindicating his position, Gann said.

“We know they can’t write us a check, but just the acknowledgement they are responsible is important,” Gann said.

MICKLOS V. PENNACHIA, ET AL

Court:

Baltimore County Circuit

Case No.:

03C09010900

Proceeding:

Non-jury trial

Judge:

Vicki Ballou-Watts

Outcome:

Plaintiff

Award:

$114,444.20

Dates:

Incident: 2006 to 2009

Suit filed: Sept. 9, 2009

Disposition: Nov. 9, 2009

Plaintiff’s Attorney:

Stanford G. Gann Jr. and Aaron J. Turner of Levin & Gann P.A. in Towson

Defense Attorney:

Jennifer Ryan Lazenby (Pennachia and Lupo) and Emily K. Lashley (Lupo) of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP in Towson

Counts:

Contribution, unjust enrichment