It looks like calmer waters for Coastal Luxury Management, the David Bernahl-led restaurant and nightlife management group behind hits like downtown’s Faith & Flower and the annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.
In January, a crop of lawsuits came to a head seemingly overnight, with Bernahl leading the legal fight in what was essentially a two-front skirmish: one with former longtime partner Rob Weakley over money owed from Weakley’s buyout, and other with the powerful Troesh family. It’s the latter that seemed to turn ugly overnight, with the Troeshes (partners in Faith & Flower and former owners of the building the restaurant sits at the base of) accusing Bernahl of using funds for his own adventures and mishandling management of the popular eatery.
As suspected, Bernahl and the whole Coastal Luxury team quickly won round one, with judges siding with them on several key points about money, rent and operational control.
Now the Monterey County Weekly is reporting even bigger gains for CLM (in fact, they called the ruling nothing short of "a verbal spanking" against Cindy and Jeff Troesh). In essence: the LA County judge in charge of the case still has found no reason not to leave CLM in charge, and doesn’t plan to micro-manage the restaurant’s day to day operations from the bench.
The judge’s exact words, per a transcript from the day in question: "I’m not going to micro-manage [details of the existing relationship where CLM is in charge], nor do you [the Troeshes] get to have a comfort level about it that you seem to want. That’s not part of the deal." Ouch.
The Troeshes had attempted to wrestle away control, but the issue at this point seems primarily closed, though it should be noted that the Troeshes refuse to sell their stake in the restaurant and won’t even provide a counter offer to CLM’s buyout options. So, hypothetically, this whole thing could bubble up again some time later on down the road.
For now, all is right in the Faith & Flower / Coastal Luxury Management world, with Bernahl telling the Monterey Weekly that the ruling works for him, even if it’s cost plenty of money just to confirm what he knew to be true all along. "[There’s] no pot of gold. Just confirmation that no, I’m not a thief, no I’m not an asshole."