Lawmakers passed the bill, which was signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney. It sparked some controversy among members of the town’s Liquor Licensing Commission because they had been completely cut out of the licensing process. The board normally gets to decide which businesses get the highly coveted licenses.
Paredna is just one of the entities owed money by the restaurateurs. According to town records, the Fourniers were in arrears with their personal property tax payments to the town for the first two quarters of this tax year, equaling about $178.
Paredna, who owns Cristy’s Pizza along the same block, filed a civil lien on the Hobo’s property, resulting in the court-ordered seizure of the site through the Enforcement Unit of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
“They’ve owed me months and months of rent. This goes back before this summer,” Paredna said recently.
He added that he’s aware of others who are owed money by the Fourniers.
“They burned me and a lot of other innocent people,” Paredna said. “They bounced checks. People were crying.”
Hobo’s website offers a one-sentence farewell message and both the cafe’s phone and the owner’s cellphone numbers are no longer in service. No one can find the men, Paredna said, who was told they may have not only left town, but the country.