May 15, 2008
Robinson versus Peveto, the continuing story

Back in 2006, I blogged about a battle between Pam Robinson, the owner of Walter's on Washington, and some neighbors - the Pevetos - who apparently don't like the noise. (She's had this problem before at a previous location on Durham - see here and here for details.) Now according to John Nova Lomax, she's fighting back.

[Robinson] filed suit against the Pevetos for tortious interference with contract, private nuisance, harassment, business disparagement, abuse of process and actionable civil conspiracy. They are asking for a temporary restraining order, a permanent injunction against the noise complaints, and damages.

The Pevetos aren't backing down -- last month, they returned Robinson's volley by taking their tale of woe to the mayor and city council at a hearing in City Hall. A few days later, Robinson told that same august body her side of the same story.

"It was very frustrating," Robinson says. "I don't like hypocrites, and I sat there for over an hour listening to people go on and on about false burglar alarms. The council and the mayor were saying that someone needs to pay for this, that it was a waste of police time and resources. And I went, 'Oh boy, wait till I get up there and I tell them about my 212 false alarm noise complaints. They should pay, and the only one paying is me.'"

That's right. There have been 212 noise complaint calls about Walter's, and so far, according to Robinson's attorney, only one has resulted in a citation, and even that one was dismissed. (Robinson says that three were made when the club wasn't even open.) Additionally, both Walter's and the Peveto residence are mere blocks from one of the busiest rail-freight terminals in America. Why don't all those long trains running bother the Pevetos?

"At what point is enough enough?" asks Robinson, in Bob Dylan mode. "I think [city council] did understand my plight, that yes, it does interfere with my business when the police show up, even though we're not doing anything wrong. We're not squirming when they come; we meet 'em, we greet 'em, we shake their hand. We don't scatter like rats!"

"I should just be deemed not a nuisance and left alone," she says.

I've said before and I'll say again, I sympathize with Robinson here. She and her bar were there first. I don't know how you can move into a locale like the Pevetos did and not have any idea about what goes on there. And I think Robinson raises a good point about the number of police calls the Pevetos have made. One way or another, the city should do something to solve the underlying problem, either by charging the Pevetos for false alarms, or trying to shut Robinson down for being a persistent violator. The current situation is clearly untenable.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 15, 2008 to Music