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Jackass Flats bar owner tries to block sale

After losing one legal appeal to a higher court, a co-owner of Jackass Flats is trying to persuade a Montgomery County Common Pleas judge to block the sale of the popular Dayton biker bar and restaurant.

Jackass Flats at 6024 Rip Rap Road — which in previous years has drawn thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to its “bike night” events — has been at the center of a bitter legal dispute since November 2012, when co-owner John T. Walsh sued business partner and co-0wner Terry L. Smith in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Smith, who actively managed the bar’s operations through late 2013, countersued.

The trial court sided with Walsh. In her Aug. 27, 2013 decision to appoint a receiver to operate Jackass Flats until the conflict is resolved or the company is dissolved, Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary K. Huffman wrote that Smith’s testimony in the case was “lacking in credibility.” Testimony during the trial occasionally got testy, with the judge interjecting at one point, “I understand the animosity between the two parties. I can listen through that and hear the facts.”

Gary J. Leppla, the attorney representing Smith, appealed the trial court’s decision, claiming Judge Huffman overstepped her authority in appointing a receiver to operate Jackass Flats. But in a unanimous decision issued two weeks ago, a three-judge panel of the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals rejected the appeal.

Today, Jackass Flats remains open, but also for sale. It is operating under the oversight of court-appointed receiver Matthew Sorg, a Dayton attorney, who has hired a manager to run the bar.

In legal filings seeking to block any sale of Jackass Flats, Leppla said last week that the bar is now in “financial chaos,” and he called the record-keeping and accounting of the bar’s business activities “wholly unacceptable.”

Sorg declined to comment on specifics of the case, saying Leppla’s claims will be sorted out by the court after a hearing.

Attorneys for both of the bar’s co-owners expressed hope in December that mediation efforts could result in a settlement that would resolve the dispute and ownership issues. But no such settlement has occurred.

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