Corey, investor settle 101 restaurant lawsuit
Tarek Habib has settled his lawsuit against local lobbyist and entrepreneur Adam Corey and his Tallahassee Hospitality Group over hundreds of thousands in unpaid debt related to the 101 restaurant, ending a legal battle that has been waged for nearly four years.
“Plaintiff has entered into Settlement with Defendant’s Corey and THG and agrees to voluntarily dismiss his claims against them with prejudice,” the May 18 judicial order said.
As part of the settlement agreement, each party will pay their own attorney’s fees.
Dan Hartman, attorney for Habib, did not return a call seeking comment.
Reached via text message, Corey said, "The case has been dismissed and I am very happy that the litigation is behind me."
The lawsuit, which lasted more than 40 months, detailed the convoluted ownership history of the 101 and Mint Lounge and involved a disgruntled business partner who would wind up facing federal charges for a bitcoin scam and cyber attack on JP Morgan Chase Bank.
Habib claimed Corey, Anthony Murgio and their companies owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two weeks before 101 abruptly closed its doors last May, Murgio was ordered to pay $389,200 for his share of another restaurant, the Tapas Lounge while the charges against Corey and THG would drag on for another year.
Habib and Murgio opened the Tapas Lounge in 2007 but Habib left in 2011 — selling his interest to Murgio for $425,000, which Murgio was supposed to pay over time, according to court filings.
Murgio claimed in his case filings that Corey approached him about taking over the restaurant, which at the time was battling the condominium association of the Tallahassee Center at 215 W. College Avenue, where the restaurant was located.
According to Murgio, Corey promised to use his relationships and connections with the condo association to smooth things over. Murgio said he agreed to transfer the company to Corey so he could resolve the dispute with the condo association.
After the matter was resolved, Corey would keep 10 percent of the business and return 90 percent to Murgio or buy the entire business from Murgio for $1.5 million.
For awhile Habib was getting checks of $5,000 each on a regular basis, including a payment from the Tallahassee Hospitality Group bank account. Corey later claimed that payment was unauthorized.
Payments to Habib stopped in September 2012, around the same time Proof Brewing and Corey won a bid to convert the old electric building at Cascades Park into a restaurant.
In January 2014, Habib filed his lawsuit against Corey and Tallahassee Hospitality Group, amending it a year later to add Murgio and Tapas as defendants.
Corey and THG flat-out denied the allegations, claiming he bought “certain assets and liabilities” from Tapas and is under no obligation to pay Habib.
In an affidavit, Corey said he and Ryan Grindler formed THG for the purpose of taking over Tapas and its assets. THG also was obligated to pay off $317,000 owed by Tapas to ProBank, which Corey said was paid in full along with resolving issues with the condo association.
In October 2015, Murgio filed a cross-claim against Corey, accusing him of fraud. He also accused Corey’s lawyer, Danny Manausa, of having a conflict because Manausa once represented Murgio.
Manausa said Corey’s “alleged promises” were unenforceable because the agreement was not in writing.
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