The Katz Drug building, which serves as an unofficial gateway to Westport, is for sale. The Art Deco landmark on Main Street, empty since 2006, will be sold at an auction on August 11.
Midtown developer Brent Lambi bought the building in 2009. At the time, he was contemplating a $27-million redevelopment plan encompassing several blocks. He filed an application with the city for credits available to developers who restore historic buildings and work in low-income areas. But when he learned that a former sex partner had filed suit against him, he disappeared.
On December 2, 2009, Brian Potter filed a lawsuit accusing Lambi of lying about his HIV status. Potter says Lambi told him that he was HIV-negative before they had unprotected sex, and that he contracted the virus from Lambi.
Process servers working for Potter's lawyers were unable to track down Lambi. The word around midtown was that he had high-tailed it for Mexico or South America.
Lambi resurfaced eventually. One late afternoon last September, a private investigator named Greg Seher tried to serve Lambi at his home on the 3700 block of Holmes. In an affidavit filed with the court, Seher described observing Lambi's silver BMW in the driveway. Inside the car, Seher saw luggage, paperwork and empty boxes of handgun ammo.
Seher rang the doorbell and could see a man who resembled Lambi through a window. They made eye contact, but the man inside the house refused to answer the door, according to Seher.
Mindful of the ammunition boxes he had spotted in Lambi's car, Seher contacted the police "out of concern for my personal safety." A cruiser and Lambi's assistant, identified as Chad, arrived at the house at around the same time. Seher asked Chad to call Lambi and tell him to come out.
Chad called Mr. Lambi on his phone. Mr. Lambi admitted that he was in the house. The police officers instructed Mr. Lambi to answer the door in order to accept the formal legal process in this lawsuit. Mr. Lambi informed Chad who in turn informed the police officers and me that he was refusing to do so and he was refusing to answer the door.Lacking a warrant for Lambi's arrest, the police left. So did Chad. Seher waited around in an effort to see if Lambi would emerge. Chad returned and posted a "no trespassing" sign in the front yard.
Lambi finally answered the lawsuit in November. In court papers, he acknowledged that he and Potter had sex but denied the encounter led to Potter's HIV diagnosis.
The case has been dismissed. Papers filed in March state that the parties agreed that the claims were "no longer at issue."