Galveston coffee shop owner sues over construction problems

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 21, 2011, 8:47am

GALVESTON � A Galveston coffee shop owner accuses her consultant of trying to defraud her business, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed May 12 in Galveston County District Court, Alison Rabinovitz alleges Bernie Havey committed acts ranging from deceptive trade to breach of contract against Judge Roy Beans Coffee Saloon.

The suit shows Rabinovitz and Havey entered an agreement last June which called on the defendant to act as a consultant to the complainant during the build-out phase of her business.

Havey was to consult with Rabinovitz, supervise build-out, create plans and provide equipment for Judge Roy Beans Coffee Saloon, it says.

Rabinovitz explains that she was assured of Havey's knowledge and experience in the industry thus trusted him to oversee the project.

"However, as time went on, the plaintiff and her employees soon noticed that the defendant was engaging in certain deceptive practices, attempting to defraud the plaintiff and breaching his contract," the suit says.

It shows Havey promised Rabinovitz new equipment, but provided used or defective items.

"The defendant refused to consult with the plaintiff on purchases he made for her business and instead falsely informed the plaintiff that if she did not purchase from him the equipment he selected, then her restaurant would not meet code," the suit says.

Rabinovitz adds that Havey lied about meeting with the property owner about renovation plans, stating the defendant's actions led to financial damages and a long delay in the grand opening of the shop.

The defendant even wrongly invoiced her, the suit says.

Consequently, the complainant seeks a minimum of $25,000 in damages and a jury trial.

She is represented by attorney Lori E. Laird of Houston.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor.

Case No. 11-cv-0781

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