Attorney Sandy Troy says he's tried to mediate the problems between Hot Monkey Love Café owner Alma Phelan and her El Cajon Boulevard neighbor. "He's put a chain across the driveway while customers are there," says Troy. "Alma has had to use bolt-cutters so her customers could get out."
Hot Monkey Love Café hosts a live band or DJ seven nights a week. Troy maintains that Walter Lam of the Alliance for African Assistance has hurt business at the three-year-old café.
"He's filed...complaints with the police," says Troy. "He would [take pictures of] customers.... The customers don't know what it's all about. But they don't want to come back. [Phelan is] suffering numerous losses. She's lost $2000 a month over a two- to three-year period."
Troy says the conflict involves access to a 15-space parking lot behind both buildings. "[Lam's] business is a nonprofit that helps immigrants. His business hours end at 6 p.m., so there shouldn't even be a problem."
Troy filed a lawsuit against Lam in superior court that alleges intentional interference with business relations. It goes to trial in October. Lam referred all queries about the case to his attorney, Phil Asiano. "No comment," said Asiano when asked about the case.
"Alma's planning a fundraiser to defer the cost of litigation," says Troy. "Eddie Vedder, Gregory Page, and Lisa Sanders have expressed an interest in performing."
The Hot Monkey Love Café hosts live jazz Thursday and Monday nights, local bands Friday and Saturday, salsa dance music Sundays, music open mike on Tuesdays, and poetry open mike on Wednesdays. All ages. Admission cost varies.