The Republic calls it quits

Landlord Mathew Appleget said he's in search of a new tenant for the Republic space. (photo by Mark Robinson)

Landlord Mathew Appelget wants a new tenant for the Republic space. (Photo by Mark Robinson)

An embattled Fan bar has finally fallen.

The Republic Restaurant & Bar will not reopen for business at 2053 W. Broad St., bowing out after a bankruptcy, being locked out twice by the government and a legal dispute with its landlord. The eatery has been closed since April.

Owner Tony Hawkins agreed to vacate the property as part of a settlement presented to a judge on Wednesday in Richmond Circuit Court. The hearing was to decide whether the Republic’s landlord Mathew Appelget had the ability to evict the restaurant.

The two parties reached a settlement, but Mark Shuford, an attorney representing Appelget, would not disclose how much of the nearly $169,000 sought by the landlord will be collected.

“We’ll record the judgment and determine how we’ll pursue collection of damages from there,” Shuford said.

Shuford said he would present the agreement to the judge on Monday. Once filed, Hawkins has 10 days to remove his property from the premises.

Appelget issued a “pay or quit” notice to the restaurant on April 23, which required Hawkins to pay the more than $14,000 he owed in back rent or leave the property.

Appelget then filed an “unlawful detainer” accusing the business of occupying the building illegally because of lack of payment. The step legally allows landlords to evict tenants. Appelget demanded the Republic pay nearly $169,000 to cover the lease in its entirety through October 2014.

Hawkins chose not to contest the unlawful detainer filing, Shuford said, effectively ending the dispute.

Hawkins declined to comment when approached at the courthouse on Wednesday.

The resolution ends a year of ups and downs for Hawkins and his restaurant.

The restaurant opened in late 2009. Hawkins, at the time, was a part owner and took full ownership in June 2011.

In July 2012, the state forced the Republic closed over back taxes. A week later Hawkins put the business into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to keep the government at bay and reopen.

It owed $300,000 is federal, state and local taxes at the time.

Hawkins then found himself in a legal spat with his partners at his other restaurant, Metro Grill. Richard Masters and Travis Bacile filed a lawsuit last November accusing Hawkins of using profits from Metro Grill to prop up the ailing Republic. The dispute was to be settled out of court.

The Republic ultimately exited bankruptcy in February, only to be locked out again by the state for back taxes. It briefly reopened in March, before finally closing for what would be its last time in April.

As for what will become of the Republic’s West Broad real estate, Appelget expressed confidence in landing a new tenant.

“We are pursuing several options for the space at The Republic, and there will certainly be a new restaurant in the building in the very near future,” he said in an email on Wednesday.

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