PEABODY — A Salem Superior Court judge has approved liens on properties held by the owner of Brodie’s Pub, as the court decides whether he reneged on a lease deal.
Judge Timothy Feeley ruled $103,000 must be set aside to be sure the judgment is paid if Michael Votto sells his Coolidge Avenue property in Peabody or a four-bedroom, waterfront home his company, Votto Properties, built on Lothrop Avenue in Beverly.
The decision came as a result of a lawsuit filed in December against Votto by One Main Peabody and its manager Pasquale “Pat” Todisco.
In court filings, the landlord alleges Votto violated a lease agreement to occupy a 5,920-square-foot space on the first floor of the O’Shea Building starting May 1.
In making the ruling, the judge signaled his support for Todisco because courts typically do not place liens or attach properties unless there is convincing evidence to support the plaintiff’s argument.
“Frankly, the defense does not amount to much given the lease,” Feeley wrote. “In fact, it sounds like buyer’s remorse.”
Todisco bought the property at Main and Foster streets at auction for $1.4 million in 2017. At the time, he pledged to invest $4 million to restore the eyesore with 20 apartments on the second and third floor and a restaurant and retail on the ground floor.
Votto had planned to move his pub to Todisco’s property from his original location on Lowell Street.
But the six-page complaint said while the parties signed a 10-year lease for $84,000 a year, and Todisco collected $23,000 to cover the first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit, Votto terminated the lease agreement in February.
Votto’s attorney argued Todico failed to deliver the space in a condition fit for a restaurant.
But Todisco argued the lease specifies the space was rented “as is” and the tenant was responsible for improvements.
Neither side was willing to talk.
Votto’s attorneys, John Keilty and Peter Calabrese , declined comment .
Todisco’s attorney Thomas Delaney declined comment.
A final ruling in the case could take years.