Business sues Frank Ski over restaurant deal

The sign outside of Frank Ski's soon after it opened. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The sign outside of Frank Ski’s soon after it opened at 2110 Peachtree St. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, December 17, 2015

Frank Ski, former V-103 host, is facing a lawsuit by a nightclub owner who briefly operated in the space that had been Frank Ski’s Restaurant and Lounge in Buckhead.

Kevin Edwards, who briefly ran Klass in the space earlier this  year, alleges that Ski “induced Klass to enter into a letter of intent to operate and manage the restaurant business,” according to a civil lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County December 11. But he said Ski then proceeded to try to force him to take over the lease, which he declined.

In the lawsuit, he is accusing Ski of fraud and breach of contract and is seeking unspecified punitive damages.

Ski had opened the restaurant in 2011, a long-time dream of his, but he left V-103 after 14 years at the end of 2012. In 2013, he found a job in D.C. at WHUR-FM. The commuting between Atlanta and D.C. meant he couldn’t focus (or easily promote) the restaurant and business waned. By early 2015, he had put his lease up for sale for $395,000 and a monthly $18,000 lease.

Edwards arranged a deal in late April which allowed Ski to keep his lease and the liquor license but ceded restaurant operations to Edwards. He renamed it Klass.

Edwards paid Ski $50,000 and another $50,000 was placed in escrow, the lawsuit said.

“Unfortunately, months after the execution of the letter of intent, and after Klass had invested tens of thousands of dollars in improvements, renovations, and marketing for the business, Defendants attempted to change the deal,” the lawsuit stated. “Defendants insisted that Klass purchase the business and refused to execute the management agreement contemplated by the letter of intent.”

Edwards refused to take over the lease (including an SBA loan) and liquor license and walked away from the deal after running Klass for about three months. Ski, the lawsuit said, did not return any of the $100,000.

Ski declined to comment Wednesday night beyond saying he had not yet seen the lawsuit. He has relinquished the lease and is no longer paying the monthly fee.

Broker Steven Josovitz, who represented Ski to sell the business, said he started a legal action when he put that deal together with Edwards without involving Josovitz. “I then stopped the legal action going forward based on Frank providing me the management documents he was negotiating for Kevin,” he said. “Frank did provide full disclosure after I started my legal action. I’d be compensated once a management deal was signed. But it never happened.”

Otherwise, Josovitz  said  in his other dealings, Ski was a man of integrity and transparency. He said Ski just ended up losing a lot of money on the restaurant .

The landlord is Bennett Street Properties.

Ski left his job at WHUR in D.C. in September and returned full time to Atlanta. He has not yet secured another radio job.

What the Frank Ski's space looks like in December, 2015. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

What the Frank Ski’s space looks like in December, 2015. The “Klass” sign can still be seen behind the tarp. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

As part of V-103’s 40th anniversary, Ryan Cameron and Wanda Smith brought in Mike Roberts, Carol Blackmon and Ski to reminisce Thursday morning.

Cameron noted the power of V-103 and how every mayor has to visit the station. Ski’s favorite interview was going to South Africa and meeting Desmond Tutu. Another favorite was interviewing Coretta Scott King.

The 40th anniversary concert is this Saturday at Philips Arena including Keith Sweat, BBD, Tyrese, 112 and Jagged Edge.

 


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