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  • Lake Oswego Review

    As a dispute over a Lake Oswego bar continues, its future is uncertain

    By Corey Buchanan,

    26 days ago

    This story was updated from its original version

    The future of Gemini Bar & Grill remains in doubt as a legal dispute between the property owner and the business owner proceeds and the Gemini owner plans a new location in Portland. Meanwhile, the property owner has filed a new business registration application with the Gemini moniker.

    As the Review reported in May, Josh Malm and Gemini Bar & Grill filed a lawsuit against property owner Sean Casey, alleging that Casey overtook the commercial space and the residence above the property and refused to let anyone enter, among other accusations. The dispute persists with Malm filing a new lawsuit against Casey in Clackamas County Circuit Court June 14 after his previous case was dismissed for procedural reasons. Gemini has been closed during this dispute.

    Though Casey has not responded to interview requests, Malm chatted with the Review recently to tell his side of the story.

    Part of the dispute centers on the ownership of the business. Casey previously owned Gemini and Malm said they had a verbal agreement to transfer ownership to him. Casey’s representation, meanwhile, said in a court filing that Malm does not own the business and there isn’t proof of his ownership. However, documents obtained by the Review through a public records request show that the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission approved a request for Malm to be the managing member, sole member, secretary, treasurer and vice president of the company and removed Casey from membership in July 2023.

    Malm, who said he has been playing music at Gemini since 2006 and previously was a manager there, said the sale agreement between him and Casey was verbal, not written, and that the plan was for him to eventually take over ownership of the building.

    “I did it without a written agreement because I had a relationship and trusted him and have known him for 20 years. His unwillingness and lack of interest in doing a real deal tells me he never really wanted to. He doesn’t seem to have empathy or connection to what this would mean for me. He’s hanging me out to dry,” Malm said.

    As Malm acknowledges, rumors have circulated social media about Malm not paying bands and employees for months and alleging the business was not well run. Malm said it’s true that bands and employees haven’t been paid, but that is due to him not being able to operate the space as a result of Casey’s actions. He said the goal of the lawsuit is to give him enough money to pay back bands and employees. Malm also said that he has lost money since taking over the business, as he has put many of his own funds into repairs.

    “People are under the impression that I just don’t pay my bills. That is a very hurtful thing when all I have done is pay all the bills,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Malm said he plans to open a new bar in Portland. He said he reached out to Casey about having that new bar be a second Gemini location and to resolve the dispute, but was rebuffed. Malm said the dispute would have to be resolved or he would have to sell Gemini, and a new person would have to establish an OLCC license for Gemini to return. He expressed resignation about the possible end of Gemini and to moving on to a new venture, which he said would be called The Song Bar and located near 80th Avenue and Foster Road in Portland.

    “As of today I have to move forward if he’s not willing to entertain the business reopening,” Malm said.

    The plot thickened June 13 when Casey filed a business registration application with the state of Oregon on June 13. The name of the business is Gemini Bar N Grill LLC (as opposed to The Gemini Bar & Grill LLC) and the location is the same.

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