An Edgewood landlord won his four-year fight in Harford Circuit Court Tuesday to evict owners of an adult bookstore who were renting a building on his Pulaski Highway property next to a mobile home park he also owns.
John P. Seisman, the landlord and owner of John Philip Inc. -- his firm's corporate name -- clenched his fist in victory when Judge ++ Maurice W. Baldwin's decision sank in.
The owners of U.S. Books, the adult bookstore run by Heather D & M Corp., were ordered to leave the building within 30 days and to pay $12,500 in back rent.
"It's over; they're gone," Philip Tirabassi, a Bel Air attorney representing Mr. Seisman, said to him. "The bottom line is, Judge Baldwin's decision ends all the issues."
Left unclear was whether Judge Baldwin's decision could be appealed.
Mr. Tirabassi asked for a summary judgment Tuesday, but the judge hedged.
Stacie Trageser, co-counsel with Mr. Tirabassi, said an order for a final judgment would be presented to Judge Baldwin for his signature, probably within a week.
Attempts to contact Bernard P. Kole, the Bel Air attorney representing Heather D & M, were unsuccessful.
"It has been a long battle," said Mr. Seisman, referring to his 1988 promise to the mobile-home owners living at Reeds at Bayview, 3001 Pulaski Highway, that he would make every effort to evict the adult bookstore tenants from the property at 3011-3013 Pulaski Highway.
Mr. Seisman said he will sell the front portion of the property pTC along U.S. 40, including the building that housed the bookstore, to a commercial investor. He said he plans to use the remaining portion of the property to enlarge the mobile home park, where 92 families eventually will live.
When Mr. Seisman bought the property in 1988, he inherited a lease signed by the former owner and encountered legal setbacks when he tried to trace numerous corporations linked to the bookstore.
In February, District Judge John S. Landbeck Jr. ruled that Mr. Seisman could not evict T & A Leasing, a corporate subsidiary of Heather D & M, because Heather D & M had filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore Jan. 14.
But a 1990 ruling by Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill had stipulated that if the adult bookstore did not move out by Dec. 31, 1992, its monthly rent could be doubled to $5,000.
In January, Heather D & M began paying only $2,500 to the court's escrow fund, contending the remaining $2,500 of its monthly $5,000 rent was in dispute.
Judge Baldwin disagreed, saying that Heather D & M's failure to pay the full amount of rent permitted the landlord to secure restitution by taking back his property.