Many of us were surprised by the news that artsy Ludlow Street mainstay Max Fish would be throwing in the towel at the end of next month after 21 years, but perhaps none more so than Arwen Properties, the company that currently leases the space to bar owner Ulli Rimkus. One person connected with the management company tells us the news has caught them totally off guard.
"We just sent her a lease renewal, a one year extension, after Thanksgiving," says our source, who asked to remain anonymous. "It was a number we both agreed upon. I was under the impression we had a deal and particulars would be worked out with attorneys." The management company is still trying to get Rimkus on the phone, but we're also told "the phones are ringing off the hook" with calls from brokers interested in the property, which was previously controlled by the infamous Alvin Weiss, who went to prison in 1999 for trying to kill one of his tenants to get her out of a rent-stabilized apartment.
Rimkus, who's an artist who came to NYC from Germany, tells us Weiss's son Mordechai is still the one calling the shots with the "new" company that owns the Ludlow Street property, but adds, "Everything is a big secret. There are all these different names. I'm pretty sure he's the person behind all these corporations." Rimkus says she negotiated with one Mike Kodoch, and "it was horrible. It's like a whole year with my lawyers and my time, wasted. They were rude. They would never call me back. It was awful. Then I said, can you please give me a one year extension. They sent me something a few days ago stating that after the year's up I had to hand everything over to them. Close the door and walk away, leave everything inside, and not talk to the press. It was a slap in the face."
Rimkus laughed at our source's assertion that they "had a deal," and said, "They want $18,000 a month. I didn't agree to that. I said $14,000. And they said, 'That's fine.' And then when I got the lease they wanted $18,000 and at the end I had to leave everything. They say one thing and then come back with another thing. It kills me. It really kills me to think that after 21 years I have to leave everything behind to the landlord who I pay rent for every fucking month. You should ask them to publish the lease. We've never done anything to deserve this except pay the rent."