Investors who bought several restaurants that fueled the dining boom in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are accusing the D.C. restaurateur who sold the eateries of sabotaging the restaurants in a scheme to take them back. And they want their scooter back, too.
Lawyers for eight restaurants including Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Molly Malone’s and Boxcar Tavern said in new court papers that Xavier Cervera, who became a consultant for the restaurants in August after selling the restaurants in late 2012, intentionally hindered their performance. The investors didn’t specify how Mr. Cervera was able to set the restaurants on a downward spiral.
What was his motive? Court papers say with less money flowing into the restaurants, the new owners would struggle to make payments to Mr. Cervera and the other sellers—former Chief Financial Officer Andrea Gentile and a Florida investor named William Sport—who had agreed to be paid over time and are still owed more than $9 million.
“If a payment [to the sellers was skipped], it would have enabled the sellers to retake” the restaurants, the investors’ bankruptcy lawyers explained in documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Washington, D.C.
In an emailed statement, Mr. Cervera denied that he had “financial control” over any of the restaurants after he sold them.