By Christopher Roberson
Pasquale Todisco, the owner of the O’Shea Building at 1 Main St., has filed a $103,000 lawsuit against Michael Votto, the owner of Brodie’s Pub, claiming that Votto violated a signed lease to occupy a 5,920-square-foot space on the ground floor.
Todisco purchased the building at 1 Main St. in June 2017 for $1.47 million at a foreclosure auction.
In a six-page complaint filed on Dec. 5 in Salem Superior Court, Attorney Thomas Delaney, counsel for Todisco, said that on Jan. 20, Votto and Todisco entered into a commercial lease that would have remained valid until April 30, 2028, and when the lease took effect on Feb. 1, Votto paid Todisco $23,000 to cover the first and last month’s rent as well as the security deposit. Delaney said a “Base Rent” of $7,000 per month was slated to begin on May 1. In addition, Votto had agreed to pay Todisco’s “pro rata share of costs” associated with real estate taxes and property maintenance.
Delaney said Votto elected to terminate the lease agreement approximately one week prior to May 1. The reason for Votto’s alleged decision remains shrouded in mystery.
However, Delaney said the financial ramifications are painfully clear. “The landlord has suffered monetary harm as a result of the tenant’s breach of contract,” he said. “The plaintiff is entitled an Order from this Honorable Court requiring the tenant to specifically perform his obligations.”
Delaney also said his client will be pursuing Votto’s interest in Votto Properties, LLC, located at 14 Coolidge Ave. “The plaintiff has the right to reach and apply any and all interest that Michael J. Votto may have in Votto Properties, LLC,” said Delaney, adding that such interest also includes property located at 126 Lothrop St. in Beverly.
Attorney John Keilty, counsel for Votto, could not be reached for comment.
The next hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Jan. 3 in Salem Superior Court.
In a prior interview, Mayor Edward Bettencourt said that while he was “disappointed to learn that Brodie’s is no longer part of the 1 Main St. project,” he remains optimistic about the future of the O’Shea Building. “The good news is that there are apparently several restaurants interested in that space and in being part of the blossoming restaurant scene on Main Street and downtown Peabody,” he said. “Brodie’s ownership seems committed to remaining in downtown Peabody and is actively seeking a new location.”
Like Bettencourt, Councillor-at-Large David Gravel said it was discouraging to discover that the deal had fallen apart. “I thought this was truly a great location for Brodie’s and a great opportunity to breathe life into that building in the downtown,” he said. “Hopefully, Brodie’s is able to find a new home in the downtown as they are a staple of our city. The city of Peabody wants and needs both Brodie’s and the 1 Main St. development to be successful; we should do everything in our power to make that happen.”
Ward 5 Councillor Joel Saslaw, a frequent Brodie’s patron, said he would also like to see the establishment remain in the city. “I hope that they find a place in Peabody and continue to be a successful business,” he said.