Burbank restaurant that defied COVID-19 shutdown orders is evicted
Sandbags are seen in front of Tinhorn Flats in Burbank on April 7th. The eatery, which remained open despite local and state orders during the coronavirus pandemic, was evacuated from its Burbank location by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday.
Tinhorn Flats, a Burbank restaurant that repeatedly defied shutdown orders during the pandemic, was cleared from its western-themed storefront just as California is fully reopening.
The eviction is the latest twist in a month-long saga in which the restaurant's owners battle Burbank officials and what appears to be their own family.
After the restaurant defied a ban on outdoor dining, the dispute with the city escalated to sandbags, fences, padlocks and a power cut, as well as arrests and ongoing legal proceedings.
City officials said in a press release that the property on Magnolia Boulevard is owned by Isabelle Lepejian, the ex-wife of Baret Lepejian, executive director of the company that runs the restaurant.
Isabelle Lepejian is the mother of 20-year-old Lucas Lepejian, a family close source said.
Along with his father Baret, Lucas has openly spoken out in favor of openly disregarding COVID-19 health regulations and has been arrested several times by Burbank police.
Isabelle Lepejian filed for an eviction on April 22, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.
The sheriff's officials handed over the property to her on Tuesday, Burbank city officials said in the press release.
The city and the restaurant remain embroiled in a lawsuit for violations of health regulations.
The city council did not respond to requests for comments on Wednesday. Baret Lepejian declined to speak in an email, citing his attorney's advice.
As coronavirus cases and deaths began to rise, the LA County's Department of Health ordered restaurants to close the day before Thanksgiving.
In April, Baret Lepejian announced by telephone from Thailand that Tinhorn Flats had reopened the sales force after briefly following the order. Vowing not to pay $ 50,000 in fines, he said the restaurant had teamed up.
"Show me a scrap of evidence of how I am endangering the public," Lepejian said at the time. “This was never about safety or the public. It's never been about that. This whole thing is about fear and control. "
The county's health authorities issued a spate of quotes. They had revoked their health permits from the facility by the end of January. About a month later, the city revoked its conditional use permit.
Since other restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining at the end of January, Tinhorn Flats had to keep its doors closed because it lacked a health permit.
At the request of the city, a Los Angeles Supreme Court judge issued a restraining order and later a restraining order that forced the restaurant to shut down. City officials obtained permission to cut power to the company and lock the door with a padlock, then put a fence around the perimeter.
Lucas Lepejian has been arrested several times on suspicion of violating court orders. At some point he sawed off the lock. He got a generator to keep cooking after the power was off.
Family members have appealed the revocation of the county's health permit, according to Mark Geragos, a lawyer representing the restaurant.
"It should never have been included in the first place," said Geragos on Wednesday.
The attorney has opposed closings of restaurants across the county and state in other court cases, including one involving his own restaurant in downtown L.A.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
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