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Inside the Eisenberg-Neighbor Lady lawsuit: urinal cakes and $200K in bar furnishings

The battle at 23rd and Union between landlord and pot shop owner Ian Eisenberg and former tenant the Neighbor Lady bar turns out to be more than a war of words. Behind the scenes, CHS has learned Eisenberg is suing the bar owners for more than $300,000 over removed furniture and what the retail marijuana entrepreneur claims is a campaign of disparagement against him including the ultimate insult — urinal cakes bearing his likeness in use at Neighbor Lady’s sister bar, The Twilight Exit.

Lawyers for Stephan Mollman and Thomas Vivian have denied the allegation.

The lawsuit, filed in April and amended to include allegations including the urinal cake episode this summer, continues with the latest filing earlier this month moving the case forward. In it, lawyers for Eisenberg say they are seeking $200,000 over the removal of “light fixtures, neon signs, bar sinks, hooks, speakers, table tops, a bar, and a foot bar” from the bar adjacent the 23rd and Union Uncle Ike’s, as well as $50,000 each in damages from Mollman and Vivian over the disparagement allegations, as well as an additional $50,000 from the Neighbor Lady business, plus “indirect and consequential damages,” and legal costs.

“Despite agreeing to a non-disparagement clause pursuant to the Lease and First and Second Amendments, Mollman and Vivian, by and through Neighbor Lady LLC and Twilight Exit’s accounts, have published Facebook posts falsely stating that Mr. Eisenberg robbed them of their business and referring to Mr. Eisenberg in disparaging and vile terms with offensive and sexist language,” the complaint reads. “Further, Mollman and Vivian have permitted and encouraged former patrons of the Neighbor Lady to post libelous comments about Mr. Eisenberg and his businesses on Facebook, publicly liking and responding to comments on these posts.”

Eisenberg’s legal team says the posts and comments “falsely allege Mr. Eisenberg has engaged unsavory conduct such as making illegal campaign contributions, yelling and acting violently toward Neighbor Lady ownership and employees, and purchasing businesses in the Central District using fraudulent business tactics.”

Lawyers for the Neighbor Lady have responded, denying the allegations, and saying that the terms of the lease “are unconscionable, and were procured under duress,” any non-disparagement clauses in the leases were not in effect, and “truth is an absolute defense to non-disparagement claims.”

The legal dispute entangles two longtime Central District entrepreneurs with businesses on entirely different paths. The Twilight Exit founder Mollmann opened the Lady in 2012 taking over the space formerly home to Thompson’s Point of View, a neighborhood institution that served southern soul food and good times before it was hit by financial difficulties in the wake of the death of the legendary Carl Thompson, Jr. who died unexpectedly at age 51 in 2010.

The original Twilight Exit moved from E Madison to E Cherry in 2008. Today, a six-story apartment building stands at the original site across from the 22nd/Madison Safeway. A second Twilight Rainier was opened in 2018.

Eisenberg opened the original Uncle Ike’s, the city’s second ever legal pot shop, at 23rd and Union in 2014, and added the first Capitol Hill Uncle Ike’s on 15th Ave E in late 2016. This summer, he added his third area shop on E Olive Way. Ike’s now boasts five Seattle-area locations.

CHS reported on the dispute this summer as the Neighbor Lady lost its lease to start 2020 after eight years of business in the space. Neighbor Lady co-owner Mollmann told CHS the bar was “kicked out,” while landlord and Uncle Ike’s owner Eisenberg cited a new use for the space as the reason behind his decision to replace the bar.

It’s not clear what the plans are for the former Neighbor Lady location. Permit filings with the city show early work being planned for a project called “S Bar” that would involve an overhaul of the space’s interior. But in August, Eisenberg filed an application with the state liquor board for a permit to operate a “beer/wine specialty shop” retail business at the location. Eisenberg has not responded to our questions about the Ike’s Bottle Shop project.

The Neighbor Lady, meanwhile, has hopes of lining up a new space across the street in the Midtown Square development planned to open in 2021.

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18 thoughts on “Inside the Eisenberg-Neighbor Lady lawsuit: urinal cakes and $200K in bar furnishings” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Appreciate the update, the amount of bullshit Ian brings with his newfound fortunes really shines a light on the true cost of cheap weed.

    The Neighbor Lady was countless good times and a treasured pinball spot in the CD – I will miss it much.

    And I’m in for some legal fundraising urinal cakes!

  2. My sympathy for Ike has increased after seeing how Antifa militants tried to set fire to his Olive way store and shake him down for money. This man has endured modern day pogroms from local far left anti-Semites.

    • I have to second your sentiment. It’s interesting how Omari and Wyking Garrett would never face this sort of hostility despite them having serious ethical lapses themselves. Ask yourself if those so hostile to him would treat a Somalian immigrant the same way and the answer is hell no. Furthermore there’s been well documented anti-semitic incidences that seem to be brushed aside because some people think he’s kind of a crappy person. Mumia Al Jamal and Osama bin Laden are crappy people but I know if I made racial slurs against them it wouldn’t be dismissed as quickly as those against Eisenberg were. Also the shakedown is pathetic and illegal. If you don’t like the guy why always try and get a buck from him?
      This sentiment isn’t directed towards the n
      Neighbor Lady folks but the others who seem to be making it a sport to antagonize this guy. I wish they antagonized those young women who murdered James Parlone in that same neighborhood in the same way. It’s odd how they never show this much animosity to those who commit drive by shootings in the neighborhood. I wonder why not. Any guesses?

    • As with every article that reports on Ian Eisenberg’s constant bullying, immoral, immature and unethical behavior (and there are too many to count) it’s only a matter before someone (likely Ian) starts screeching about antisemitism. Every time.

  3. I like the line above @ LRK “anti-semitic incidences that seem to be brushed aside because some people think he’s kind of a crappy person.” How about a Whole Bunch of people think he’s a crappy person for Good Reason? I’ve thought Mr. Eisenberg was an A-hole for a host of reasons, long before I learned he was Jewish, mostly relating to his monetary bullying of anyone he cares to push around. This lawsuit citing his face on urinal cakes after trying muscle Neighbor Lady management into putting up posters for Amazon hack Egan Orion is only one of a long line of incidents “some” may consider as annoying and egregious. Being Jewish does not give you the right to act like a predatory ass and not get called out for it, any more than it gives you the right to shoot Palestinian medical professionals in cold blood. Boycott Uncle Ikes!

    • The Israeli Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with what we’re talking about period trying to drag that in is super disingenuous.
      Since since many of his critics were unable to criticize him without making virulent anti-jewish statements that does speak about anti-Semitism in this community. There are plenty of crappy Black, Hispanic and Muslims in the city and I don’t see the same crowd tolerating slurs against them.

  4. Hey LRK: YOU’RE the one who’s bringing up Mr. Eisenburg being Jewish as an explanation for “some” people being disgusted with him, not me. I’m saying that’s got nothing to do with it. If you’re going to bring up his being Jewish as the reason people have malevolent disregard for him instead of the obvious truth YOU bring what being Jewish means into the discussion. That brings up the current and past horrors of the heavily U.S. supported Jewish state. Talking about racial disparity and why A-holes of all colors aren’t treated equally is just calling the kettle black. Calling for racial equality in scorning people who are terrible members of the community misses the point. Uncle Ike is a terrible member of the community who uses with wealth in aggressive and mean spirtied ways. His being Jewish has nothing to do with that.

    • Ian has called one of the owners of The Neighbor Lady anti=semitic loudly inside the the bar when it was open for business, crowded, and heard by many. One of the founders of The Neighbor Lady is Jewish. Thinking that they are anti-semitic is crazy and delusional. Ian throws that term around all the time to defame people his doesn’t like It’s like when Trump says “lock em up.” They should be the ones suing him! To Ian, if it’s raining and he gets wet, it’s because the sky is anti-semitic.

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