Bean’s Cafe seeking restraining order against business owner
The operators of Bean’s Cafe and the Brother Francis Shelter have claimed in court that a nearby businessman’s actions regarding homeless people in the area constitute assault – although a local judge disagrees.
Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi denied a temporary restraining order last week sought by Catholic Social Services and Bean’s against Grubstake Auction Co. owner Ron Alleva. Alleva’s controversial acts, including spreading a chlorine-based pool cleaner along part of Karluk Street where homeless people camp earlier this month, have drawn muni responses as well as concerns from Bean’s.
Those concerns led to a Wednesday filing from Catholic Social Services, Bean’s and their executive directors – Lisa Aquino and Lisa Sauder – asking that Alleva be barred from coming within 500 feet of either facility or any location where an employee is present.
Sauder said Tuesday that the plaintiffs still plan to seek a long-term restraining order against Alleva.
Alleva and Bean’s settled a 2012 lawsuit from Alleva claiming that Bean’s and Brother Francis clients were harming his business for $30,000, according to the filing.
The following year, however, CSS told Alleva he was no longer allowed at Brother Francis due to “inappropriate and threatening behavior” including “chastising and cussing out” staff members. He was similarly barred from Bean’s in 2015, after an incident in which he “recklessly drove out of the Bean’s Cafe parking lot at a high rate of speed and almost hit a staff member.”
Alleva’s behavior and language, as seen in the Karluk incident and three recent local meetings on homelessness, “have escalated over the last several months” according to the filing. Aquino and Sauder said they were confronted by Alleva at an April 18 meeting, where he “confronted them in a threatening and intimidating matter.”
“Ms. Sauder and Ms. Aquino were able to get away from Alleva by the crowd strongly urging Mr. Alleva to board an elevator,” the request read. “Immediately following the incident, Alleva boarded another elevator and told an employee from the mayor’s office that he was carrying a weapon.”
Those acts, according to the filing, allegedly amount to fourth-degree assault – a misdemeanor, which someone can commit if “by words or other conduct that person recklessly places another person in fear of imminent physical injury.”
A point-by-point response from Alleva to the complaint says that because Grubstake Auction is within 500 feet of Bean’s and Brother Francis, the order would leave him “barred from going to his place of work by the terms of those orders.” It also challenges the plaintiffs for proof of their allegations against him, noting that some accounts are provided on a secondhand basis.
Alleva also claims in the response that his spreading of pool cleaner along Karluk Street was approved by staff at the local Department of Health and Human Services, reiterating what he told KTVA the day after an Anchorage hazmat crew responded to the area. Staff at DHHS, however, said that Alleva didn’t have any such approval from them.
In addition, Alleva claims, CSS and Bean’s made the request with “unclean hands” from a legal perspective, due to their involvement in the homeless situation affecting the immediate area.
“They have deliberately chosen to engage in activities that are designed to attract, and that do attract, large numbers of homeless persons to the neighborhood near Mr. Alleva’s business,” the response read. “Those homeless persons have created massive problems in the area, including trespasses on Mr. Alleva’s property, the strewing of large amounts of garbage, including bio-hazardous materials such as syringes, used condoms, and fecal matter, on and around his property, and committing assaults on persons on and around his property.”
Those assaults, Alleva claims, include two rapes he has witnessed and being punched in his right eye by “a client of the plaintiffs.”
At a June 6 meeting of the Anchorage Assembly's Public Safety Commission, Alleva used direct terms to describe an assault near his business.
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Editor's note: We've chosen to post this video as it's now part of the reason operators and staff at Bean's Cafe and the Brother Francis Shelter are seeking a restraining order against Alleva. During his public testimony, Alleva describes, in great detail, an alleged sexual assault he witnessed.
Anchorage police said Tuesday that they couldn't comment on any of Alleva's claims until or unless a suspect had been charged in a specific incident.
Guidi’s order, issued Thursday, said the filing from CSS and Bean’s didn’t meet the “extraordinary circumstances” required for the court to grant their request against Alleva. In particular, it didn’t include the exact words he used for evaluation of whether they were indeed an assault.
“In evaluating whether an assault has occurred under this definition, the actual words used matter a great deal, as does the manner and context in which the words are spoken,” Guidi wrote. “There is a vast difference between loose talk, even in anger, and a calculated threat.”
Alleva wasn't immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Daniella Rivera contributed information to this story.
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