The owner of Woody’s Beach Club and Taqueria at Woodlawn Beach State Park is taking the Hamburg Town Board to court over the board’s decision to cancel his contract with the town.
Tucker Curtin, who opened Woody’s in 2011, complains that the board didn’t have the right to unilaterally end the deal and won’t let him have access to more than $100,000 in equipment he left behind.
Curtin on Friday filed paperwork asking a State Supreme Court justice to bar the board from reaching an agreement with any other restaurateur, and he looks forward to making his case at Thursday’s initial court hearing.
“Ultimately, I want to have the opportunity to fulfill my contract,” Curtin said in an interview.
Town Attorney Walter L. Rooth III declined to comment on the lawsuit, deferring to Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters and Town Board members. They either could not be reached or did not return phone calls seeking comment over the weekend.
The town took over operations at the beach three years ago, when the board hired Curtin as the concessionaire. In Buffalo, Curtin operates Dug’s Dive, on the waterfront south of downtown, and the Lake Effect Diner in University Heights.
At Woodlawn, Curtin operated a restaurant and two bars, including one on the beach, paying the town a $4,000 base rent plus 2 percent of his gross sales. The town already indicated that the rent would rise by 20 percent this summer.
The initial three-year contract had renewal options that could extend it to 12 years in all, and Curtin argues in his court filing that the town can terminate the contract only if he is in “material breach” of the agreement.
Curtin contends that he hasn’t violated the contract and that the board didn’t give him the required notice. He said he didn’t hear anything from the town until March 11, when he was notified of the board’s vote the night before.
Walters said at the March 10 meeting of the Town Board that he favored ending the contract with Woody’s, seeking bids for a new concessionaire and seeing “whatever new opportunities are out there for the town.”
The Town Board said bids were due March 31, and Curtin said he knows some of his fellow restaurateurs have put in for the contract. But he is asking State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek to bar the town from reaching a new contract while the court case proceeds.