Nicholas Panagopoulos, the landlord of the recently closed _ on Route 1 in Foxborough, says the owners of the function hall owe him $550,000.
Christina's co-owner Marjorie Clapprood and her husband, Chris Spinazolla denied the claim and say they are actually owed for money they put into the facility.
“It’s been a dispute for well over a year," Clapprood said. "[Panagopoulos] wanted more rent and he was not willing to pay for general capital improvements meaning basic maintenance of the major parts of the building that are the landlord’s responsibility."
Denying not paying rent, Clapprood stated that she was able to pay the rent and anytime she paid a reduced rent, the check was sent to Panagopoulos along with a note requesting a reimbursement for any capital improvements that she paid for but the landlord was expected to cover.
While there were investments in extra improvements such as new floors, walls, ceilings, rooms, and lighting, Clapprood claims that Panagopoulos did not refund the owners for basic maintenance they provided that he was responsible for.
Clapprood claims when the septic system failed around 2006-07, it had to be pumped out at least two to four times a week despite verbal promises from Panagopoulos to fix the issue. The system was finally replaced two years later, according to Clapprood.
While upset over the lack of basic maintenance, the owners said their goal was to make Christina’s the best facility they could, even if it meant going above and beyond and out of their own pocket. What they did not expect, according to Clapprood, is that they would have to pay for maintenance that is usually taken care of by the landlord.
“We understand as tenants that anything that we did to improve the building stays with the building," she said "We would beautify because we believed we’d be there forever. We understood that was an investment we would not recoup but what we thought we were doing was building on a future for us, our kids, and our grandkids.
“What we did not bargain for was to also have to take care of the capital improvements that are the landlord’s responsibilities.”
If anything, the relationship between the restaurant and landlord has been tension filled. Last October, Clapprood won a court ruling against Panagopoulos for $268,681 for a breach of a lease contract. Clapprood says that she has yet to see any money from the ruling.
Currently, Clapprood is helping her former employees find new jobs and land on their feet. With the closing of Christina’s, Clapprood says her life has turned into a whirlwind as she deals with the end of the venture and the fate of her workers and clients.
“It’s overwhelming and at the same time I want to make sure that we take care of as many people as we can starting with our employees and our clients,” Clapprood sad.
With the future of Christina’s up in the air and any reopening date unknown, the fate of the booked weddings and functions of the facility’s clients is unknown. While Clapprood doesn't know the specifics of Panagopoulos’ future plans, she says all she can do is hope for the best.
“We’re leaving a lot of bookings behind in his hands and I hope he honors his word and he makes beautiful events. He’s got a beautiful building to do it in,” she said.