The impending closure of Junior's Deli is the result of inexperienced ownership and not a dispute over rent as a son of the restaurant's founder claimed, the attorney for its landlord said in remarks published Friday.
Attorney Behzad Nahai of the Beverly Hills-based Four Corners Investment Co. told The Times in remarks published on the newspaper's website that "the closure is a result of the brothers not having the same level of business acumen as their father."
David Saul, of Malibu, blamed Four Corners for trying to raise rent and "not willing to bend" on "a number that we can't give," according to The Times.
Nahai told The Times Four Corners had granted the Sauls several rent concessions during the recession, allowing for lower rent even after founder Marvin Saul's death "in an effort to help the brothers turn their business around."
When it came time to renew the lease for the Westwood deli this year, Four Corners said the concessions weren't sustainable going forward but offered a revised rental amount "still less than the Sauls were contractually obligated to pay," Nahai told The Times.
Nahai told The Times negotiations ground to a halt after the brothers made a "well-below market proposal" lower than their father's rate.
David Saul and his brother John, who took control of the restaurant following their father's death last year, have not paid rent since mid-November, Nahai told The Times.
David Saul told The Times he held back the rent "for negotiating purposes" and that the lease for December "was prepaid." David Saul called Nahai's description of the brothers as inexperienced business owners "totally unfounded."
Junior's Deli is expected to close in several days. David Saul said he hopes to reopen the deli somewhere else with a "more 21st century" vibe, including in Malibu.