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Landlord sues Penguin Drive-In, cites default on lease

The Penguin Drive-In finds itself in a classic good news-bad news situation this week.

The good news: It’s featured prominently in “Bad Grandpa,” a movie comedy by the “Jackass” team that was shot mainly in Charlotte and opens nationally Friday.

The bad news: The folks who run it are being sued by their landlord, a company that claims the Penguin owners have defaulted on their lease and a loan made earlier this year.

The lawsuit has been filed by 1921 Commonwealth Ave. Holdings LLC, which leased the property to Penguin Drive-In last April and loaned $17,763 to the people running it.

According to the suit, Commonwealth demanded payment in full of the remainder of the loan after the August rent was not paid; Penguin paid the August rent, did not pay the note in full, and has not paid the September rent.

The suit also demands that possession of the Penguin’s “collateral” – defined in the suit as equipment, inventory, goods, fixtures, financial accounts, etc. – be turned over to Commonwealth. A receivership hearing has been set for Nov. 13, when both parties will come before a judge.

Attorney Don Rawlins, who represents Commonwealth, declined to comment on the suit; Lisa Ballentine, registered agent for the Penguin (and daughter of Jim Ballentine, who opened it in 1954), also declined to comment Wednesday.

A records check also showed that the Internal Revenue Service has placed liens totaling $32,006 against Penguin Drive-In LLC for unpaid federal taxes. The bulk of that total was assessed in February of this year; $432 was added in June.

Lawrence Toppman: 704-358-5232
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