DETROIT (WXYZ) - Local church leaders on Detroit's east side want to put a stop to the opening of a liquor store. A legal battle is expected to conclude with a judge's ruling Friday.
"My family has owned this liquor store since 1990." said Chris Karim, owner of Nino's Market; a store he bought from his father nine years ago.
Karim is weeks away from a grand re-opening after a fire destroyed the building back in 2008. Five years later, a small group of candlelit flames hope to keep the liquor store's doors closed. Outside the store, a small group of church leaders staged a protest to the opening.
The group hopes to stop Nino's from opening, saying there are already enough liquor stores on East Warren. The group was successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order on further construction of the store.
"And now with this liquor store opening, that would make six stores opening in a mile radius." said Pastor Darell Reed, "There's not a need."
But Karim questions the motivation behind the court order. He points out a letter he received from the church group's attorney, addressed to a "Chris Hindo." The first name was correct, but the last name belonged to a man who owns K&G liquor store just a block away.
"The lawyer made a mistake. [The owner of the other store's] name is Chris, my name is Chris. Then I pieced the two together. I realized he wants to eliminate the competition and he's behind all this."
When asked if he believes the lawsuit came from the competing liquor store, Karim responded, "Correct."
When asked if he could confirm or deny Karim's allegations, Pastor Reed said, "I cannot confirm or deny. Neither do I care. The main thing is we do not want a liquor store in our community."
Chris Hindo, the man whose name is on the envelope, says he supports the church group's cause, but knows nothing about hiring an attorney.
"They could say what they want, there's nothing to explain." said Hindo, "I did not hire an attorney to go after Nino's."
The attorney for Nino's tells 7 Action News the erroneous name on the letter was serious enough to mention in a brief to the judge during court proceedings.