DETROIT (WXYZ) — The owners of Russell St. Deli are speaking out about an ongoing beef with their landlord, that’s continued after they closed their doors and are still looking for a new place to open up shop.
Inside the deli, you’ll now find a sea of empty seats and coffee pots collecting dust. Owner Ben Hall tells us a recent Facebook post was designed to rally supporters to the shop today, after demands from the landlord to remove property and food since the restaurant closed.
“We simply can’t afford to take everything out and put it into storage, while we are still paying the old rent and will be paying to move to a new location,” Hall said.
He adds he did call off the last-minute gathering after an impromptu meeting with a representative for the landlord.
DELI DISPUTE: A Rep. for land lord & owner of Russell St. Deli tell 2 DIFFERENT stories about ongoing disputes. The Eastern Market shop currently STILL pays rent, but is NOT open for biz. Meanwhile, the landlord has called conditions inside “unsanitary.” @wxyzdetroit #6PM pic.twitter.com/fjMxwNBH5b— Simon Shaykhet WXYZ (@simonshaykhet) October 24, 2019
But an email from Truscott Rossman PR agency representing FIRM real estate tells a different story. Pictures attached in the email come with an explanation suggesting the deli owners kept an unsanitary cooking operation going in violation of their lease.
The letter on behalf of the landlord also points out the need to keep the heat on to avoid pipes bursting with winter approaching. Spokesman for the landlord, John Truscott, also denies rent being raised on the deli owner by 2 1/2 times, as Hall's claims would’ve happened had they stayed open as a restaurant.
Hall also denies a lack of maintenance on his part causing flooring problems, as the landlord had suggested. The owners say they’re relieved they can still keep their property here in the meantime, and say they will keep paying rent until they can move to a new location, as quickly as possible.