NORWALK, Conn. — Amar Haouri and Vincent LaForte will be out of the Oak Hills Park restaurant business by Jan. 15, by the latest.
However, their Oak Hills Restaurant on the Green is not behind on its rent, as some have suggested.
The topic came up at Thursday’s Common Council Finance Committee meeting, where Council member Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) asked Norwalk Comptroller Frederic Gilden, “Do you know if there is a situation going on with the tenant at the restaurant not paying their rent?”
“There is a situation going on,” Gilden replied.
“So, he has not his paid rent in a couple of months,” Hempstead said.
“That’s correct,” Gilden said.
“That’s not true,” Haouri said Saturday. “The rent is up to date. I don’t know who said that, but the rent is paid…. It’s a lie.”
“As far as I know they have paid their rent right up to when I left (to go out of town for the weekend) two days ago,” Oak Hills Park Authority Chairman Jerry Crowley said Saturday. “It’s due on the 15th, if they haven’t I usually get some kind of feedback.”
However, the lease for the restaurant expired on Jan. 15, he said.
“They have been trying to sell their business for a year, it’s been on the open market,” he said.
The Oak Hills Park Authority has been holding executive sessions about the restaurant every month for some time now. Crowley said that’s because if Haouri and LaForte sold their business the buyer would have to be approved as a tenant for the restaurant.
The pair “for the last year has been attempting to sell the balance of its lease which ends 1/15/2018 along with fixtures and good will. As its business broker presented candidates, the Authority has been vetting them,” Crowley said.
Haouri and LaForte declined to comment.
Hempstead said Haouri called him after the NancyOnNorwalk inquiry.
“I apologized to him,” Hempstead said. “It given to me by someone who would know but I guess it was inaccurate.”
“They are looking to get him out of there,” Hempstead said. “…I guess I misspoke based on information that was given me.”