La Notte Left In The Dark
The floor is littered with shards of broken glass, the dining rooms are dark, and a health department notice was taped to the door of La Notte Ristorante in Huntington. The restaurant is closed.
A sheriff’s department official confirmed an eviction notice was filed on the property less than a year after it opened in October 2012. Michael Sharkey, chief of staff for the Suffolk County sheriff, said an eviction order was issued for the 15 New St. restaurant several months ago, but because of pending legal action, the enforcement bureau is barred from seizing the property “anytime soon.”
A Suffolk County Department of Health Services notice posted on the front door of the vacant restaurant, dated Oct. 25, found at least one health risk upon inspection. The phone for the restaurant has been busy or out of service ever since, and its website has been shut down.
Joseph Competiello of East Northport opened La Notte under a lease agreement with IBM Restaurants, owned by Vincenzo Iannucci, a Huntington resident who, according to court documents, owned and managed Bel Posto restaurant, which occupied the space beforehand.
According to court records submitted by Rocco Lamura, Iannucci’s attorney, IBM Restaurants and Competiello entered into an asset purchase agreement on June 8, 2012, in which Competiello agreed to pay $20,000 upon execution of the contract; $40,000 upon issuance of a temporary liquor license; and $140,000 at closing.
A lawsuit, filed in March by Iannucci’s attorneys in State Supreme Court, Suffolk County, claims breach of contract, fraud and other forms of alleged misrepresentation by La Notte’s owner. It also names Competiello’s brother, Michael, who IBM’s attorney claims guaranteed payment in the event of Competiello’s failure to do so.
Both parties agree that the initial security deposit of $20,000 was made to IBM, but later payments, or lack of payment, are in dispute.
The suit claims Competiello opened the restaurant one year ago on Oct. 31 without giving Iannucci any notice, leaving the plaintiff “shocked and astonished by the occurrence of such events.”
A sworn affidavit signed by Iannucci Aug. 5 said he and his attorneys have repeatedly and unsuccessfully demanded a total payment of $180,000 from Competiello’s attorneys.
Overall, the suit claims, IBM Restaurants is seeking $1.2 million in damages resulting from breach of contract plus interest, damages, legal costs and additional expenses from attorney and expert fees.
The lawsuit remained unresolved as of this month. Neither Lamura nor Daniel Tanon, Competiello’s attorney, returned calls for comment.
Correspondence and legal documents filed by Competiello’s attorneys deny any wrongdoing on the La Notte owner’s behalf, arguing instead: Iannucci misrepresented his involvement in a recent lawsuit – which the plaintiff claims was dismissed in March 2012; and that the building was “seriously contaminated by mold” when Competiello moved in. The documents also deny any commitment of payment by Competiello’s brother, Michael.
The parties, according to civil court filings, are scheduled for a conference or appearance on Nov. 12.