Rouss fund seeks to force Milano’s out

Posted: July 26, 2014

The Winchester Star

Milano’s Ristorante & Bar is at 107 W. Boscawen St. in Winchester.

WINCHESTER — The Charley Rouss Fire Company Endowment Fund, which owns the property at 107 W. Boscawen St., has asked Winchester Circuit Court to force Milano’s Ristorante & Bar to vacate the site.

According to the filing dated July 23 from the Rouss fund’s attorney H. Edmunds Coleman III, the lease for the property has expired, and Milano’s did not accept any of the Rouss fund’s three options for a new lease.

Without an agreement in place, Rouss Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company President Tim Clark sent a letter dated April 7 requesting that Milano’s vacate the property by June 1. The business, next to the firehouse, has not done so, according to Coleman’s filing.

The Rouss fund seeks a court judgment ordering Milano’s to pay $848.72 in rent for each month or partial month from June 1 until it vacates the property, and to pay additional monetary damages as may be proven during a trial, according to the filing.

The Rouss fund also seeks to recover any associated court costs.

The property was owned by the fire company and transferred to the Rouss fund this year. Milano’s has been the tenant for more than seven years.

The Rouss company entered a two-year commercial lease agreement with Milano’s LLC’s registered agent Vincenzo Lanzetta on March 1, 2007.

The lease was automatically renewed in 2009 for a three-year term until March 1, 2012.

As the end of the lease approached, the fire company sent a letter dated Aug. 13, 2011, to Lanzetta stating that it would not be renewed under the existing terms. According to Coleman’s filing, Milano’s did not respond to the notice, or a subsequent letter dated Jan. 20, 2012.

When the lease expired without a response from Lanzetta, according to Coleman’s filing, the fire company informed him that the business was operating on a month-to-month basis and requested that the two sides agree upon a new lease.

Ownership of the building changed hands from the fire company to the Rouss fund on Jan. 9, 2014.

Clark sent Lanzetta a letter dated Feb. 14 with three options for an annual lease agreement. The options were:

A one-year lease for $1,182 per month.

A three-year lease for $1,139 per month, with a 7.5 percent increase for the second and third years.

A five-year lease for $1,055 per month, with a 5 percent increase each year from the second through the fifth years.

Milano’s has paid $848.72 per month since October 2011.

Milano’s attorney Georgia Rossiter responded with a letter dated April 4, stating that her client would agree to a five-year lease for $1,055 per month with a 3 percent increase each year from the second through the fifth years.

Citing an intention to repurpose the building, Clark sent a letter dated April 7 to Rossiter withdrawing the lease offers “that were belatedly rejected.” He requested that Milano’s vacate the property by June 1.

Coleman and Rossiter did not return a phone call seeking comment on Friday.

— Contact Derek Gomes at dgomes@winchesterstar.com