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By. Sophie Peel
“Fuck you,” Aaron Mitchell wrote to the restaurant owner. “Pay me, motherfucker.”
La Mota owner Aaron Mitchell, whose battle with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission and dealings with former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan put him and his longtime partner Rosa Cazares in the spotlight this spring, finds himself in another bitter legal battle.
This time with the owners of a sushi restaurant in Roseburg that shares a wall with one of La Mota’s 30 Oregon dispensaries.
The court battle started last fall over a sewer line in the building. Mitchell and one of the LLCs he controls sued Kwang Cheol Park and Young Ho Park, the owners of Ami Sushi, in Douglas County Circuit Court alleging they had “tapped into plaintiffs sewer line rather than construct and maintain their own line.” As a result, Mitchell’s lawsuit said, the Parks’ sewer line was “depositing corrosive restaurant waste into Plaintiff’s sewer line” that caused it to fail and allegedly emit a foul odor into the dispensary. The lawsuit alleged the odor caused the dispensary to lose profits amounting to $200,000.
In their response to Mitchell’s lawsuit, the Parks asserted they had easement rights to the sewer line and had used it for more than a decade without trouble. The Parks denied they had improperly used the sewer line, and alleged it was in fact Mitchell who had unfairly disconnected the sushi restaurant from the shared line, forcing the restaurant to close for a month.
That case is set for a three-day trial in November.
Then, on Aug. 4, the Parks filed a lawsuit against Mitchell and his LLC over the same issue. They allege that Mitchell’s actions caused the restaurant financial and physical damages by disconnecting their sewer line. The lawsuit alleges Mitchell also “knew and intended to inflict severe mental and emotional distress” on the Parks, and directed his “outrageous actions” at an “immigrant-owned, family business.”
The Parks, whose lawsuit doesn’t specify their original nationality, have operated Ami Sushi for 17 years.
Their lawsuit alleges Mitchell sent “repeated rude, profanity-laced messages to mock and intimidate plaintiffs into paying money for defendants’ supposed damages.” Images of those text messages are included in court filings from the November lawsuit (see below).
Mitchell and Cazares (who emigrated from Mexico to the United States as a young child) run 30 dispensaries across the state under the name La Mota. Their relationship with Fagan led to her resignation in May—a relationship that’s now the subject of three investigations, two by the state and one by the U.S. Department of Justice. Two months prior to Fagan’s resignation, WW reported on the couple’s failure to pay taxes and bills even as they generously contributed to the election campaigns of top Oregon Democrats, including Fagan, Gov. Tina Kotek and Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego).
The Parks are asking for a trial and demanding $290,000 in damages.
Mitchell and Cazares did not respond to a request for comment. The attorney representing the Parks declined to comment.