An embattled Shockoe Bottom nightclub is the crux of another legal dustup.
Brandon Thompson, who says he bought an ownership stake in Have a Nice Day Cafe on South 18th Street, is again suing the owners who sold him the share, alleging they stiffed him out of his interest in the business.
It’s the second time in two years that Thompson has filed suit against his alleged partners Rodney Peterson and Ramon Smith, and this time he’s asking the court for more money.
The case, filed Nov. 18 in Richmond Circuit Court, claims that Thompson paid Peterson and Smith $45,000 for a 40 percent interest in Beyond Horizons Inc., which was then doing business as Have a Nice Day Cafe. Peterson and Smith never gave Thompson his share, and he never saw a dime of the money he invested, the suit claims. Thompson allegedly put in thousands of dollars more over time, according to the case.
Thompson is seeking $600,000 in punitive damages. He’s asking the court for an additional $165,000 that represents money he invested and lost income he should’ve made through the investment, said his attorney, James M. Sitton II.
Thompson’s case also claims he was supposed to have a seat on Beyond Horizons’ board of directors but that Peterson and Smith later said he had no authority. The men then allegedly sold his interest in the company to another person without refunding his investment.
The lawsuit, which lists Peterson, Smith and Beyond Horizons as defendants, alleges breach of contract, engaging in a common law conspiracy and fraud.
The allegations are similar to those Thompson made in a 2011 lawsuit against the same defendants. Sitton asked the court to dismiss that case – which asked for $100,000 in damages – in August. Sitton said the dismissal and refiling were necessary to correct procedural issues and to update the complaint.
Have a Nice Day Cafe has seen its share of controversy.
The Virginia ABC dealt a blow to the club when it revoked its license to sell mixed beverages in August.
According to the ABC order, the establishment failed to qualify as a restaurant, which was necessary to keep its mixed beverages license, and failed to keep complete and accurate records.
The nightclub’s ABC license is listed under the LLC Richmond 402, according to state records. The establishment, which is registered with the ABC as a restaurant, is still permitted to sell beer and wine, an ABC spokeswoman said.
In 2011, local residents and businesses started an online campaign to push for Have a Nice Day Cafe to be shut down. It was blamed at the time for late-night shootings in the area.
David Napier, president of the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association, said that the association talked with the owners after the campaign and that the nightclub worked hard to change its reputation.
Napier said Have a Nice Day Cafe has been closed for a couple of months.
David Worrell Jr., an attorney who represented Peterson and Beyond Horizons in the 2011 lawsuit, said he has not been hired for the new case.
Peterson could not be reached for comment. No attorney was listed on either court file for Smith, a court official said, and a working telephone number for him could not be located.
Two telephone numbers once associated with Have a Nice Day Cafe have been disconnected.