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Brooklyn bar owner fights landlord who forbids him from operating a gay bar

Monday, April 21, 2014
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NEW YORK — A Brooklyn bar owner says he has been battling his landlord for more than a year to turn his establishment into a gay bar, but that his lease specifically prohibits a gay bar from operating on the premises.

John McGillion says he wants to transform Lulu’s to take advantage of a growing gay and lesbian community in his Brooklyn neighborhood, and estimates that his failing bar could attract “40 to 50 percent” more business as a gay establishment, reports The New York Post.

“I am barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar … If I am permitted to operate a gay bar at the premises I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit,” McGillion said in Brooklyn Supreme Court papers filed last week.

McGilion says he has tried to sell the bar several times over the years, but his landlords at Guard General Merchandise Corp. have reportedly scared away prospective buyers by tripling the asking price.

Bars catering to gay customers have a big upside, McGillion says: “They do well because you don’t have issues of fighting. They’re nice people, they’re wonderful to deal with. It’s easier.”

McGillion is asking a judge to declare the controversial lease clause invalid.

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