Iconic Sinbad's restaurant in San Francisco files for bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just when the Port of San Francisco thought it was evicting its most infamous tenant, Sinbad's, the restaurant delivered an unexpected surprise by filing for bankruptcy protection. This buys the owners of Sinbad's some time.

Some thought there would be a showdown between the owners of Sinbad's and sheriff's deputies. The owners were facing eviction. Then the unexpected happened.

"We had planned for the eviction at approximately 11:30 in the morning, so that has been cancelled," said port spokesperson Renee Dunn Martin.

It was cancelled because on Wednesday morning, the owners of the restaurant filed for bankruptcy protection.

"We're still in negotiations, hopefully with the port, and that's why we filed for reorganization, not for money or anything but to try to get the port to rectify their wrongdoing," said co-owner Chuck Stinson.

Even though there is a $71,000 judgment against the restaurant for back rent, and even though a jury sided with the port to have them evicted, the restaurant will be allowed to stay until the bankruptcy is settled which could take some time.

Sinbad's lawyer, Ivan Jen, told reporters the owners know they can't stay permanently, but are asking to leave on their own terms and not immediately.

"If construction isn't gonna take place until, for example the end of next summer, why is the port so eager to take over the place and leave it dormant for the next few months?" Jen asked.

The owners say they want to make some money to pay off bills.

"We have banquets scheduled for Christmas, for the holidays, we have the lights on the bridge, we have the Super Bowl, we have all kinds of business, for local people," said Stinson.

Meanwhile this unexpected delay represents a major setback for the port. An architectural design shows how Sinbad's would be knocked down to develop the area.

"We are adding up to three new ferry landings that's really gonna service the public and provide public benefit," said Martin.

The port took out a demolition permit back in March when the owners were supposed to vacate the property. Now the port is being fined every day because the building is still standing. So far the fines add up to more than $13,000.
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