Restaurant faces uncertain future

The auction of Stanmore Bay Cottage this month has created uncertainty for Paprika Kitchen owners.

The fallout from the Masala Restaurant chain’s offending continues to resonate on the Hibiscus Coast, with a family-owned business the latest to feel the effects.

Last March, the owners of the Masala chain came to a settlement with the Crown, which involves selling 34 properties, including 124 Stanmore Bay Road and Stanmore Bay Cottage at 195 Brightside Road (HM March 15, 2017). Under the agreement, a total of $8 million from the sales will be forfeited to the Crown to cover most of the unlawful benefit that Masala derived from tax evasion.

The sale of Stanmore Bay Cottage has therefore been in the wind for some time, but when the For Auction sign went up recently, the owners of Paprika Kitchen, who lease the premises, say they got a nasty surprise.

Paprika co-owner Bob Konar says that he found out early this month that his 15-year lease may not be worth the paper it is written on – something he says was “like a bomb going off”.

Last year Mr Konar signed a lease with JKK Holdings. This company and its director, Supinder Singh, were both respondents in the High Court case. Mr Konar says he signed the lease believing that the company owned Stanmore Bay Cottage. However, he says he received notice from the Official Assignee that because the property was restrained by court order in 2015, JKK Holdings should not have granted a lease.

“I have been paying JKK Holdings $1000 a week and they had no right to take any of that money,” Mr Konar says. “They have made a fool out of me.”

He says when he was granted a temporary liquor licence, nothing was red flagged by Auckland Council but that Council raised the issue of the lease more recently when he applied to make the licence permanent.

Paprika Kitchen opened last year and the family moved to Gulf Harbour from Henderson recently. They want to stay. Mr Konar says the family wants customers to know Paprika is open for business until the issue is sorted out.

“We are desperate to keep the restaurant where it is, having built up a customer base,” he says. He says he also spent around $20,000 on refurbishing the interior and landscaping.

Bayleys Real Estate agent Jeremy Milton says the issue will have to be resolved between the tenant and the new owner once the property sells. Mr Konar says he has spoken with his lawyer.

The auction is scheduled to take place on June 21.

Hibiscus Matters was unable to contact Mr Singh.

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