In the Matter of Avila v. Avila
"I want to be in there like I was, because I'm capable and I can do it," she told reporters on her way out of the courtroom.
|It's going to take a hell of a lot of work to get Avila's back in working order by 11 a.m. Monday. This is the kitchen as it looks at this very moment.|
Today's hearing wasn't really a hearing at all: Molberg ordered Ricardo to appear so he could scold him for violating a temporary restraining order Molberg had signed on February 9, when the judge gave Ricardo full control of the restaurant pending a hearing that was to have taken place yesterday. Repeatedly, Molberg told Ricardo he'd "used the judicial system for his own personal gain." After admonishing him for stripping the place bare, Molberg asked Ricardo, "On your way out, why didn't you just torch the place?"
Avila's may indeed be made whole come Monday, but there's significant work to be done aside from bringing back in the equipment and tables and chairs -- plumbing and electrical, for starters. And by no means is the legal battle over: Molberg ordered Anita and Ricardo begin mediation on Wednesday, in advance of an injunction hearing scheduled for March 2.
|Ricardo and Anita Avila in happier times|
Molberg is, to say the least, furious that Ricardo tossed aside the judge's order: "You pillaged and plundered the business," he told Avila, "effectively ending its existence."
Molberg ordered Ricardo to the stand to ask him why he would do such a thing. Ricardo's answer: Because he didn't see anywhere in the judge's February 9 order language that said he couldn't "take things I felt were my possessions." He said his mother and her attorney had made him an offer to stay "if I paid $10,000 a month in rent, which I couldn't afford." Hence, his decision to take the stuff and run.
Which did nothing to placate the judge.
"You're right," Molberg said. "The order didn't say, 'Don't even think about closing it down, stripping it down and absconding into the night.'"
Ricardo says he did what he did because "I didn't want to see my mother go through the stress and anguish" of a protracted trial. If that's the case, he did not succeed.