Königswinter Owner Mohamed Rizk has filed criminal charges against the previous tenant of the old brewery in the old town of Königswinter. The Sankt Augustine man is alleged to have caused him damages amounting to 120,000 Euro. Rizk wants to open the empty Café Europa soon.
The owner of the old brewery in Königswinter and his previous tenant are likely to meet again in court soon. Owner Mohamed Rizk has filed criminal charges against the trained chef, who left last week.
"The tenant has not paid rent for seven months and has taken away large parts of the equipment. The damage amounts to 120,000 euros," Rizk told the General-Anzeiger. The tenant even took away the cooling units and the 120 pieces of high-quality cutlery. Moreover, he left the building in a completely neglected state.
In June, Rizk had signed a cancellation agreement with the tenant, who the General-Anzeiger could not reach despite numerous attempts. The 33-year-old St. Augustine trained in star restaurants and worked in five-star hotels in Bonn and Cologne, as he had reported to the GA a year after the opening. The menu at the Altes Brauhaus featured classics of good plain cooking. The special charm of the building is the garden with its 50 to 60 seats, which are arranged around a fountain.
No rent paid in seven months
According to the owner, the tenant recognised rent arrears of 25,000 euros in the termination agreement. According to Rizk, these have since risen to 33,300 euros. The tenant had also not paid the bills for gas, electricity and water. However, the damage caused by the theft of a large part of the furnishings is much higher.
The tenant said goodbye on Facebook at the beginning of last week. "We would like to thank our guests, friends and families for their support. Many thanks also to our people in Königswinter for the great feedback", it says. Unfortunately we are forced to close the doors permanently. "The reason for this is not, as some people think, the Corona situation with all its consequences, but a lease that changes weekly and makes a business relationship simply impossible in the long run.
"The "landlord" would rather leave his property empty and dilapidated, like many other properties in Königswinter. "We are very sorry, because we have invested a lot of energy, time and power and a lot of love in this little oasis", says the leaseholder. The lack of respect, promises of renovation work that never came about or the 180 percent increase in the rent after the lockdown are no basis for starting the next season in an already ailing industry. Photos and videos were also posted on Facebook to document that it rain entered the building in several places.
Legal dispute also with former employer
Both sides had signed a four-year lease one year ago. Previously, the tenant had been head chef at the Petit Lion in the old town. He will also meet again in court with his former business partner Christian Leve. "I have reported him to the Bonn public prosecutor's office for fraud. The damages amount to around 80,000 euros," Leve told the General-Anzeiger. Together, the two actually wanted to run the Alte Brauhaus. Instead, however, his partner had signed the lease agreement alone and not as the manager of the Hotel Krone, said Leve. The GA was also unable to question the accused about these accusations despite repeated attempts.
The Alte Brauhaus had been empty for more than six years until last year. In spring 2013, Rizk had given up the catering business due to poor turnover and only rented out the seven hotel rooms. The entrepreneur had bought and renovated the half-timbered house built in 1731 at the end of the 1990s. In the following years he acquired further properties in Königswinter, including the Orangery, the Metternich House and Café Europa. The first two houses are no longer used for gastronomy, and Café Europa has been undergoing renovation since 2012.
Rizk hopes for agreement with the town of Königswinter
"In three weeks we will reopen the Old Brewery on our own initiative", Rizk announced. The Café Europa in the heart of the old town is also about to open. "Everything is completely finished there." At the end of the month, he arranged a meeting with Mayor Peter Wirtz and Technical Department Head Theo Krämer to discuss his properties in the Old Town. "I hope to have a good conversation," says Rizk. After having realised several projects in other cities, he now wants to take care of his Königswinter affairs attentively.
If he has his way, the years of dispute with the city over Café Europa should be a thing of the past. On several occasions, the administration had issued the businessman with a decommissioning order so that he was not allowed to have any further construction work carried out on his property. Time and again the building was also sealed by the city.
THE OLD TOWN
Number of vacancies has fallen significantlyFor many years the old town of Königswinter was characterised by many empty restaurants and shops. In the past four years the number has fallen from 23 to now eight vacancies, according to the municipal business development and housing association (WWG). It is feared, however, that due to the Corona pandemic two or three more shops will have to close down by the end of the year.
(Original text: Hansjürgen Melzer, Translation: Mareike Graepel)