August 29, 2014

Elyria
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Shopway structure can be rented out after settlement

Ali Alawi

Ali Alawi

ELYRIA — The city has reached a settlement with Ali Alawi, the owner of the Shopway building.

Elyria Assistant Prosecutor Eric Breunig said the city will dismiss Alawi from the lawsuit against Shopway and allow him to rent the building at 175 Lake Ave. to other tenants. In exchange, the city is required to approve any potential tenants, who may be given a background check.

The agreement also requires the structure to be unoccupied for a year from Sept. 17, 2013, unless a person or entity other than the Shopway operators and those affiliated with them occupies the premises.

All personal property and contents used by the operators will be sold without appraisal during a public auction. The proceeds will be awarded to the city of Elyria.

“We thought that was a reasonable solution given the fact that it has been closed for a year, and it always gives us wider latitude with the operators of Shopway,” Breunig said.

The settlement was agreed upon by both parties and approved by Judge Jim Miraldi on Friday.

City prosecutors have been unable to link Alawi to any criminal activity at the store.

Alawi, who lives in Avon Lake, has denied knowing about the alleged criminal activity that occurred at the business. A motion filed April 26 by Alawi’s attorney, Kenneth Frankel, indicates that Alawi leased the property to Shopway’s operator, Thaer Mustafa, on May 12, 2007, but Alawi only had limited interaction with the business owners.

Mustafa is facing several charges related to allegedly selling spice, a synthetic form of marijuana, and running a food stamp fraud operation at Shopway. He also faces charges for allegedly selling counterfeit items at another business, IMT Wireless.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.