The landlord who owns the building that houses the shuttered Highland Place restaurant and bar is seeking to have the former restaurant owner’s liquor license transferred to him.
Maplewood Township Clerk Elizabeth Fritzen received an application Tuesday from Masoud Kian for a “Person-to-Person Transfer” of the license from 5 Highland Place Associates. Kian will need to undergo a standard background check before the township holds a hearing on the license transfer. Fritzen said that process would take roughly two months.
“The license can be utilized at another location in Maplewood if a place to place is indicated at a later date,” said Fritzen.
The New Jersey State Division of Taxation had seized the license from Chris Farrow, former owner of Highland Place, because of unpaid state taxes. The state scheduled an auction in December; bidding was to begin at $300,000. However, the auction was canceled at the last minute at Farrow’s request.
“He asked for a postponement,” said Investigator Eddie Palmer of the New Jersey Division of Taxation on December 10, who added that Farrow “came forward with something for [the state]” that prompted them to postpone the auction. Farrow had an unspecified amount of time to come up with a plan to pay back taxes.
According to the state’s ABC Municipal Handbook, for a person-t0-person transfer the current licensee “must obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate from the New Jersey Division of Taxation before the license can be transferred.” We have reached out to the division of taxation for confirmation that Farrow has obtained such a certificate.
A handful of people attended the aborted auction in December, including Kian, who was then reportedly in discussions about the restaurant with the former owner of Martini’s in Millburn.
We have reached out to Kian for comment and will update this article as we receive more information.