Cafe Bel Ami owner sues landlord and property manager over parking

WICHITA — The owner of Cafe Bel Ami is in a parking dispute with his landlord and the company that manages the O’Rourke Title Building at 229 E. William, where the downtown restaurant is located.

Nabil Bacha filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court after reserved signs were placed on certain parking spots that he says his customers have a right to use.

Harry Najim, Bacha’s lawyer, says his client has nonexclusive use of the entire parking lot during certain hours and that reserved signs hinder that.

He says customers “don’t want to go in the restaurant and come back and find their car gone.”

Troy Palmer, president of Simon Palmer Properties, says he can’t discuss the dispute much beyond saying that there is one.

“We really hope to have it resolved before Friday,” he says. “We’re still kind of negotiating.”

There’s a temporary restraining order that forced Palmer to remove the reserved signs for now. A hearing is set for Friday.

“I’m telling you that Cafe Bel Ami has been an anchor tenant of the O’Rourke building for 14 years, and this guy comes on board … and is treating Cafe Bel Ami unfairly and denying them access to parking spots,” Najim says. “It’s like the lawsuit says, we have a claim of breach of contract. We don’t think he’s acted in good faith or dealt fairly with Cafe Bel Ami.”

Najim says Palmer is not correct to think the case will be resolved this week.

“Tell him Christmas is coming, too, OK?”