The popular Falmouth House of Pizza, founded by Antonia and Steve Sotiropoulos, will be closing this Friday evening, April 26, 2019 because of their eviction by landlords Jonathan Cohen & Joe Soley. The Greek couple started the pizzeria forty-one (41) years ago in the same location now owned by C&S. As reported yesterday herein, they are looking for a new location and time is running out. They need to vacate the property by May 1, 2019, Meanwhile, the couple and their son Lee have spent most of today hunting for a new location in the Falmouth area where they want to remain because of their many loyal customers in the area.
The elephant in the family is their oldest son, George, 40, and his wife, Miekal Liberty. The couple expects to assume a long-term lease soon with Cohen for his parents pizzeria. George expects to open it up sometime in the future; perhaps renamed “Foreside House of Pizza.” Miekal is a niece of Michael Liberty. Liberty is a former Portland developer who was recently indicted on charges of wire fraud and securities fraud by the Feds. Liberty has collected $300 million from bilked investors toward a product that does not exist. Need to continue? Antonia told mhn.com that it has been a very painful situation since George married Miekal Liberty seven years ago. Ambitious wives can have powerful influence over their husbands and how they run their professional lives – even if it means splitting up families.
“This could not have have been pulled off without Cohen’s advance cooperation with George,” said Harold Pachios today on the telephone. Pachios has been their attorney for years. His father was a good friend of the Sotiropoulos family and he used to visit them frequently at the Falmouth House of Pizza, “FHOP,” where they conversed in Greek. Pachios did not know why Cohen would pull off such a stunt behind the founders’ back. “This is like a hostile takeover,” he said. Pachios represented “The Cat,” the ferry service that used to run between Portland and Nova Scotia, in a lawsuit filed on its behalf against the Portland Pilots and the Board of Harbor Commissioners. Pachios won the the case against the two defendants and it was covered extensively in this blog. According to the Portland Pilots executive director, the lawsuit cost it $250,000.00.
It had been the couple’s intention to share the business among their three sons: Lee, Nicholas and George. But, George and his wife Miekal had different ideas.
“I’m very sad to see it go. My kids and I love FHOP,” said Anne Rutherford, owner of Grace and Foreside Tavern this afternoon at the Falmouth Shopping ‘Center. As one Portland customer of the FHOP said to mhn.com: “If this is how he treats his parents, how do you think he’ll treat his customers? I won’t be returning there,” she said.
Jonathan Cohen, is a business partner of Joe Soley’s in the ownership of the Falmouth Shopping Center. Soley, 88, is a former business partner of Spiro Agnew, vice president of the US in the Richard Nixon administration. Agnew was forced to resign before Nixon. They were involved in housing in Baltimore, MD., Soley told this blogger a few years ago. Soley was very proud of that affiliation until it was posted on this blog! Soley said that Agnew could “sell anyone anything. He was smooth.” When angry, he’s yelled at this blogger: “Don’t do this to me!” repeatedly, from his little office at the corner of Fore and Exchange Street in the Old Port.
Cohen is also the developer of the WEX headquarters on the Portland waterfront. He is expected to build a large garage at 100 Fore Street. He owns the Ocean Gateway Parking Garage on Fore Street which has been the subject of controversy in previous posts herein on this blog. About twenty Peaks residents were turned away from the garage two weeks ago and the matter has not been fully resolved yet.
Please see previous post for more background information on the situation. Please also visit post herein dated May 18, 2018 for information on the effort to evict Ocean State Job Lots at the Falmouth Shopping Center by Cohen&Soley.
Please see post herein dated April 23, 2019 for more background information on the closing of the Falmouth House of Pizza.