The owner of Cafe Azzuri on Jane Foss Russell (JFR) Plaza has won a tribunal matter against the University of Sydney Union (USU) that finds the USU improperly closed a door.
The door in question was closed to prevent “unpleasant smells” from wafting into University administration offices above JFR, according to testimony in the case.
Azzuri’s owner, Nick Anastopoulos, argued that he had stopped cooking meat and onions, which produced the odours, by the time the action took place and suggested the closure of this door had resulted in a loss of customers and profits.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found in Anastopoulos’ favour on the basis that the USU should have served him with a notice for breaching the terms of his lease, which prohibited “noxious or offensive smells,” rather than obstructing his business by closing the door.
The 2.9 metre sliding door, which connects Azzuri to the JFR foyer, was closed and locked in October 2015.
Anastopoulos took the case to the Tribunal in September 2016 with the aim of reopening the sliding door, after the agreed result of mediation between the parties was not carried out to his satisfaction.
Senior Tribunal member Bluth stated, “whatever was agreed upon has not been carried out to the satisfaction of the applicant, partly I assume because such agreement was predicated upon USU obtaining the consent of the University.”
In its judgement, the Tribunal noted that with the door closed, “There is a lack of visibility of the business and a reasonable belief that assumptions are made by potential patrons that on seeing the sliding door permanently closed, that the café may not be open and therefore patrons go elsewhere”.
Honi is unsure whether UniBros experienced a flood of additional patrons while the door was closed.
The door has now been reopened and the smells have ceased.
Azzuri continues to serve “must-try crepes” according to the USU’s website.
Patrons will be pleased to know the Tribunal has found the resulting “crepe smells” not to be “noxious or offensive” — a sentiment with which USU President Michael Rees agreed.
Rees also said the USU was pleased with the judgement.
There has been a series of disputes between the parties in the past, which was resolved with mediation.
Anastopoulos has complained about the opening of a competing cafe in the Wentworth Building, while the USU has complained that Anastopoulos used to serve food not permitted by his occupancy JFR license.
Anastopolous refused to comment other than to say the matter “involves an issue of construction of our lease agreement and its terms, particularly the issue of whether a ‘sandwich’ can include a reference to a ‘burger’.”
If sandwiches, which Anastopolous was permitted to make, was a broad category that included burgers, then he may have been allowed to cook common burger ingredients like meat and onions.
The University referred requests for comment to the USU.