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Newbury Street pottery studio sues landlord it says won't let it install kilns despite agreement to do so

The owner of a pottery studio that used to be on Beacon Hill yesterday sued her new and notorious Back Bay landlord, saying he broke his promise to let her install kilns to fire her patrons' hand-decorated wares.

In her suit, Rainbows Pottery Studio owner Allison Carroll says that in the lease she signed in 2022 for space at 216 Newbury St., landlord Hicham Ali Hassan agreed to let her install electric-powered kilns - and that she agreed to pay for any required upgrades to the building's electrical system. But, she charges, after she moved in, Hassan refused to let her contractors do the $48,000 worth of electrical upgrades or install the vent the kilns need.

Carroll charges that not only did Hassan block the electrical upgrade after it had passed ISD muster and the vent installation after it had won approval from both ISD and the Back Bay Architectural Commission, he took to referring to her as "a stupid little bitch," vowed to drown her in legal fees, repeatedly yelled at her employees and contractors when he showed up at the building - and made false claims about her autistic son.

It's the sort of alleged behavior that Hassan used to engage in at his former Tannery shoe stores, which got so bad the state sued him for violating the civil rights of minority and foreign-born customers. He settled the case in 2021 by agreeing to never again run a retail store in Massachusetts.

Carroll says that without kilns, she has been forced to send customer pieces out to a third-party kiln operator, which not only costs her an extra $2,500 a week but increases the chances that the objects will be cracked or completely broken during transport to and from that location - to the point where she says she has lost repeat business from people whose work has been damaged that way.

In her complaint, Carroll asks for a jury trial at which to prove her formal charges, which include breach of contract, unfair or deceptive trade practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the state civil-rights law. She is seeking an injunction to get Ali to knock it off and pay her sufficient damages to both compensate her for her business losses, times three, to ensure he doesn't try it again.

The court has yet to set a date by which Ali must respond to the lawsuit.

PDF icon Complete complaint668.41 KB


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OMG, THAT guy. He was the one who owned The Tannery and got put out of business because of his frequent abusive, racist remarks to customers. He also owns those crumbling buildings on Boylston where the Tannery Outlet used to be. They are an eyesore. I was hoping he was getting old enough to step away from business but apparently not.

That's why his name sounded so familiar when I was reading the complaint!

This guy: Racist barred from ever opening a store in Massachusetts again for the way he treated Blacks, others in his Back Bay stores, 2021.

Isn't renting retail space engaging in the business of a public accommodation?

The fact that he's a landlord seems to make me think he's run afoul of that past decision, no?

I'm sure that Ms. Carroll was very clear about what her needs were and agreed to sign the lease with the assurances that everyone was in agreement.
Her expenses, time spent and frustration should all be taken into account when figuring on punitive damages.
Another Ms. Carroll just did very well in her suit. I hope Allison is as successful as the other.

Dats hot! Magoo.

Assuming this guy is threatening to renegotiate the contract through bluster and threats, id be happy to chip in against such nonsense.

Google the pottery shop. They deserve one another.

Like she's eating customers' dogs and punching people in the face and cutting their fingers off?

I suspect those arent real, John.

I would think the Fire Department would have the ultimate authority. The old Tannery buildings are a disaster ticking away. If they continue to be neglected by the owner as they have been for years now, the buildings themselves will collapse. The damn Tannery building looks evil every time we all glance at it in fear.

Yes, and it's sad because it looks like they were once nice buildings! I also feel bad for the businesses and people on either side.
The buildings just seem like a physical representation of a personality disorder to me.

Yeah.. I read a Boston magazine article from 2019 about this guy.

Seems like for many years he was immigrant story gone right. Came here, started a successful business, opened a few locations, bought some real estate, was making some nice coin.

Then about 7-10 years ago he changed. Then everything started to suffer.

One thing of note that the article did state, he is a trump supporter. So whatever brainworms affects MAGA is affecting him too. Or at least it seems like it.

Of course one of the irony things is that one of the racist things he said to customers (for Healey to bar him from opening another business) was how he wanted trump to win so all the illegals would be deported (or something similar).

Its like.. dude, you're one too.

Brainworms. That is what is happening to people.

I'm an old white guy who worked on boylston 25+ years ago and knew all the usual promoters and club kids and door guys etc...The Tannery was ALWAYS a dumpy mess that you only went if you had to.

Riccardi was everything.
Louis was a close second.
The Tannery was for your cheap pair of Frye's for the winter.

But I feel nostalgia and joy when I see these ruins. Spick and Span Boston is just too tidy and clean for me sometimes.

I almost cried when they power-washed the old corner bookstore, it made it look like a brand new building built to look old

It’s getting a tiny bit grimy again. Thought you might be heartened to hear that.

Making A Kiln

You’re Kiln Me, Smalls

and no one has mentioned the tragic death of Fawn Leibowitz in a kiln explosion.

She was going to make a pot for me...