[Image via Facebook]
The following was published yesterday on the Stage's Facebook page...
In response to the recent news, Roman Diakun, the proprietor of Stage Restaurant has released this statement:
We at the Stage Restaurant are deeply troubled by the landlord’s false allegations that we engaged in any illegal siphoning of gas. Stage is a long-standing restaurant with deep connections to the community – we have never siphoned gas, and have committed no wrong.
In response to a complaint made by one of the residential tenants of the Building, Con Edison turned off the gas to the entire building, including Stage’s gas supply as a precautionary measure in light of the recent tragic events that transpired on March 26, 2015.
Con Ed promptly came to the Building and performed an inspection, which made no findings that Stage had ever tampered with the meters or pipes. In connection with restoring gas services to Stage, a licensed plumber determined that Stage needed to replace one of the pipes servicing Stage.
In an effort to remedy the issue as quickly as possible, Stage commenced work prior to obtaining what was later learned to be a necessary work permit, and a stop work order was issued. Stage immediately complied with the stop work order, paid the fines thereon and hired a licensed plumber to apply for the proper applications to perform this work, so that Stage can get back to servicing the community it has had the pleasure to serve for the last 35 years. Stage has requested that the Landlord sign off and cooperate with Stage’s efforts in this regard.
However, to date, Stage has been unable to secure the Landlord’s consent to completing this repair work, which is vital to the safe and continued operations of Stage, as well as for the safety of the community. Stage has requested that the Landlord withdraw the termination notice, and cooperate with Stage’s efforts; however, the Landlord in not interested in promptly remedying a potentially dangerous issue at the Premises, but instead the Landlord is seizing on the recent tragic events as an opportunity to wrongfully evict us for reasons unknown to us.
The building has several violations which are not related to the present issue, and none are indicative of the Landlord’s spurious and malicious claims that Stage has engaged in any wrong-doing other than overzealously attempting to remedy a potentially dangerous condition.
As amNY reported on Tuesday, Joseph Goldsmith, a lawyer for landlord Icon Realty, believes that the Stage was "trying to cover up the siphoning that they had previously done and the Department of Buildings went for an unnanounced inspection and caught them in the act."
Goldsmith told amNY that Icon is waiting for gas use records and pictures that a DOB inspector had taken during the visit in late March.
Bedford + Bowery has more from both Goldsmith and Diakun here.
Previously on EV Grieve:
The possibility that the Stage won't reopen on 2nd Avenue
City serves stop work order on Icon Realty-owned building for installing gas pipe without permit across from deadly 2nd Avenue blast zone (48 comments)
Petition to help reopen the Stage
Tenants at 128 2nd Ave. file suit against Icon Realty in housing court
Troubling talk about 128 Second Ave, and the long-term future of the Stage
[Updated] Report: Icon Realty serves the Stage an eviction notice