By Jane Gilman
Several of our readers have asked why the Larchmont Bungalow continues to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner when it is not legally licensed to do so.
Bungalow owner Albert Mizrahi lost his certificate of occupancy almost as soon as he opened the eatery three years ago this fall. He also lost a civil case and an appeal. (A criminal case is pending; see adjacent article.)
Typical court saga
In our research, we discovered the Bungalow court saga is not unique.
When defendants are well funded they often file a civil matter to confirm they had the right to do what they are accused of doing in the misdemeanor proceeding.
The civil suit then prompts the judge in the criminal case to delay the matter until after the civil proceeding is decided, throwing the whole case into a form of suspended animation.
Sometimes, right about now the prosecutor gives up, because the magnitude of resources required to keep up with a resource-filled defendant is too much, according to a city source who spoke to us on condition of anonymity.
City persisted and won
In the case of the Bungalow, the city persisted—probably thanks to some determined area residents. The city won the civil suit which resulted in putting the criminal case back on track. It is headed to a hearing Tues., Aug. 14.
Barring any delays
Defendants know the various means available to them to delay the system to their advantage.
Unfortunately, judicial delays—which were already a problem—are a growing phenomenon because of a reduction of court staffing. Misdemeanor cases are never high on the priority calendar, even during good economic times. The outcome then is forestalled until all litigation is resolved.
And, that is why you can pull up a chair and order pancakes, albeit illegally, at the Bungalow.