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July 9, 2012 | Taste: Dayton food and restaurants

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Boulevard Haus owner should stay in prison, prosecutors say

Montgomery County prosecutors are urging appeals court judges to keep Dayton restaurant owner Eva Christian behind bars while she appeals her nine-year prison sentence and her conviction on five felony counts related to insurance fraud.

“The nature and circumstances of her crimes were horrendous, most notably the fire that was started at her restaurant … in a heavily populated strip mall where the lives of several bystanders were put at risk,” assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor Andrew T. French said in court documents. “After the fire, when the fire department had shut off the gas lines, the gas was somehow ‘mysteriously’ turned back on — three separate times — resulting in three evacuations of the area.

“Proof of her guilt was also strong, as evidenced by the quick guilty verdict — less than five hours (of jury deliberation) — following 10 days of testimony.”

French also said Christian is a German national “who, despite several requests that she do so, has never surrendered her passport,” which makes her a flight risk if she would be released from prison pending the outcome of her appeal.

Springboro attorney Marshall G. Lachman wrote in his earlier request to suspend the restaurant owner’s prison sentence that Christian “has been a productive member of the community for a number of years, owning businesses and employing many citizens … (She) posted bond during the course of her trial court proceedings and appeared at every required court proceeding … it is (my) understanding that much of the evidence against (Christian) that led to her conviction was based on the testimony of less-than-credible witnesses.”

Christian is seeking a court order putting her prison sentence on hold and blocking the forfeiture of her Washington Twp. home that would help repay more than $80,000 in restitution that she has been ordered to repay to two insurance companies and to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Miami Twp. Fire Department.

Christian, the owner of Boulevard Haus restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District, was convicted by a jury on May 22 of five felony counts — including a first-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity — related to two incidents of insurance fraud. The case revolved around break-ins and a fire during 2009 that Christian reported and which prosecutors said were staged in order to collect insurance money: one break-in at her Washington Twp. home and a reported vandalism and fire at her now-defunct Cena Brazilian Steakhouse in Miami Twp. near the Dayton Mall.

Testimony during the two-week trial included a prosecution witness who testified that Christian wanted to “blow up” Cena, which was adjacent to a family-portrait studio and men’s clothing store near the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp.

Prosecutors say Christian faces deportation upon her release from prison in 2021 unless the conviction is overturned on appeal.


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Dominic’s case resurfaces: Judges reject Duke’s restaurant owner’s appeal

CINCINNATI — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the personal bankruptcy filing by the former owner of Duke’s Restaurant in West Carrollton does not shield him from a federal judge’s rulings in his long-simmering legal dispute with the former owner of Dominic’s Restaurant.

The trademark-infringement and breach-of-contract federal lawsuit — first filed in April 2009 by former Dominic’s owner Anne Mantia against her stepdaughter, Christia Mantia, and former Duke’s owner Reece Powers III — is still not fully resolved. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose granted a default judgment against Powers, Christie Mantia and a third defendant, former Dominic’s chef Harry Lee, in March 2010. Judge Rose found Powers to be in contempt of court and ordered his restaurant, Duke’s, to shut down. But the issue of monetary damages was never fully resolved, in part because Powers filed for personal bankruptcy. Powers’ chapter 7 liquidation case is still pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dayton.

The court of appeals decision upheld Judge Rose’s rulings and said Powers must still abide by the district court’s orders and injunctions, although Judge Rose indicated in an earlier ruling that he will not attempt to require Powers individually to pay monetary damages because of the declaration of bankruptcy.

Anne Mantia’s attorney, James Morris of Lexington, Ky., said, “We are extremely pleased that the Court of Appeals has affirmed the District Court’s ruling, and we look forward to finally being able to proceed with the case and obtain a judgment on the claims presented.

“It has been a long and difficult delay … . Hopefully we will be able to schedule a hearing promptly and reach a conclusion to this matter, and can finally close this difficult chapter.”

Powers’ attorney for the appeal, John Scaccia of Springboro, said his client “is disappointed with the ruling, and he is examining his options to find alternative forms of relief,” which Scaccia said may include appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anne and Christie Mantia co-owned Dominic’s restaurant on South Main Street in Dayton, but the partnership ended in 2005 with a buyout agreement in which Christie Mantia accepted $460,000 in part in exchange for agreeing to not use the term “Dominic’s” in any future restaurant ventures. Dominic’s closed in 2007 under Anne Mantia’s sole ownership. It had been in business for 50 years.


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Beer shop owner teams up with relative to open restaurant

DAYTON — A new sandwich shop called Stackers Subs & Grub opened Sunday at 2615 S. Smithville Road, in the same building that houses Belmont Party Supply and BrewTensils.

The independently operated sub shop is owned by Mike and Donna Schwartz, owners of Belmont Party Supply, and Doug Magoch, the restaurant’s chef and manager who is also second cousin to Mike Schwartz. Magoch has more than 30 years of food-service experience, including stints at Bob Evans restaurants and at Studebaker’s Country Restaurant in New Carlisle.

Taking a break Sunday afternoon from slicing potatoes for Stackers’ fresh-cut fries, Magoch said he and Schwartz have been talking for about a year about opening a restaurant or a restaurant-bakery in Dayton, and settled on an empty space adjacent to the Belmont carryout. Plans are in the works for a special beer-and-sandwich pairing event in the beer shop later this year, the restaurant manager said. Stackers’ menu includes subs, wraps, paninis and salads, and includes multiple vegan and vegetarian options.

Magoch said he and Schwartz are already looking for a location for a second Stackers. “We hope open two more shops within the next three years,” most likely in the Beavercreek-Fairborn area, he said.

Stackers employs seven people. It’s carryout-only now, but will soon offer delivery service and is also working on an online ordering system, Magoch said. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call Stackers at (937) 424-4611 or check out the Stackers Subs & Grub Facebook page.


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