An Ocean Drive restaurant and confectionary shop is accusing a New York-based general contractor of trying to squeeze it for $311,000 in construction services it claims was already paid last year. According to a June 14 lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Sugar Factory Ocean Drive LLC alleges National Retail Services LTD filed a fraudulent construction lien in an attempt to get paid twice.
Sugar Factory, which also sued Louisana-based Express Lien Inc., which filed the court instrument on National Retail’s behalf, is asking the court to cancel the lien and find both companies negligent. Attempts to reach representatives for National Retail and Express Lien were unsuccessful. Sugar Factory’s attorney Ralf Rodriguez did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The Las Vegas-based candy retailer and bistro known for its celebrity clientele opened its third location in the United States last year inside the Hotel Victor, owned by the Nakash family, at 1144 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. National Retail was hired to build out the 5,000-square-foot brasserie and retail store that includes a 201-seat dining room and two patios overlooking Ocean Drive.
About three months after Sugar Factory opened, National Retail filed a construction lien against the owners because of an unpaid $311,000 bill. On October 2, 2015, National Retail filed a court document discharging the lien, which usually happens once a monetary dispute has been settled.
According to the lawsuit, Sugar Factory didn’t hear from National Retail again until five months later when Express Lien filed the amended construction lien, which again claimed the $311,000 was not paid. Sugar Factory asserts that the lien amendment is “invalid on its face and unenforceable because it purports to amend a claim of lien that was previously discharged.” The lawsuit states the amendment is also void because National Retail waited more than 90 days to refile the lien.