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Restaurant owner, downtown group's spokesman reach agreement

The case has been continued until March 25 so that both parties can redraft their agreement to include confidentiality.

March 16, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

The owner of a downtown restaurant reached a tentative agreement Friday with the head of a political action organization who he said threatened his employees.

The court ordered Alessandro Pirozzi, the owner of Cucina Alessa in downtown Huntington Beach, and Kim Kramer, the spokesman of the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn., to enter mediation and come to terms without having the judge rule on whether a restraining order should be issued to protect the restaurant's customers and employees.

Kramer's lawyer, Joshua Stein, wanted Judge Glenn Mondo of the Orange County Superior Court in Westminster to sign and keep the agreement confidential. However, Mondo refused, saying the agreement could not be confidential if he signed it.

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Mondo continued the matter to March 25 to give Kramer and Pirozzi a chance to redraft the agreement. The new agreement will be confidential and will not need the judge's signature. Pirozzi is expected to drop his case against Kramer once the agreement is signed.

Pirozzi filed a restraining order against Kramer on Feb. 14, claiming he harassed his employees and customers on and before Super Bowl Sunday.

Pirozzi claimed Kramer made threats of physical violence against his employees and demanded information regarding the restaurant's operation.

Kramer disputes the claim. He admits going to the restaurant the day of the big game to ask for the occupancy permit, but says he did so politely.

Kramer visited three restaurants that day with a clipboard in hand.

Police Chief Ken Small has said that his department received calls about Kramer's visits from the restaurants.

Pirozzi said Kramer began harassing him when he found out that Pirozzi was looking to extend his alcohol services to customers who dine on his restaurant's patio.

Kramer told Pirozzi he would help him obtain the license if he agreed to serve only wine on his patio, according to Pirozzi.

When Pirozzi refused the offer, the harassment continued, he said.

Pirozzi would not disclose the details of the agreement but said he's happy with it.

"We're happy to move on," he said.

Because the agreement is confidential, it's not clear whether it allows Kramer to visit Cucina Alessa, even as a diner.

But Derek Tran, Pirozzi's lawyer, said before the two parties entered into mediation that Kramer expressed that he would not be going near the restaurant in the future.

Kramer declined to comment on whether he can visit the restaurant as a paying customer.

Pirozzi said he plans to apply for a permit with the city to serve alcohol on his patio.

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