Above: Executive Cigar owner Andrew Lee spoke to the Northside Community in May to discuss ongoing problems with his shop. At the meeting, he accused Brackney of targeting him before he filed the PFA.
Former Northside business owner Andrew Lee and Zone 1 Police Commander RaShall Brackney are back in court, but this time Lee is on the defense.
Lee, the former owner of Executive Cigars in Historic Deutschtown, has been charged with filing an unfounded protection from abuse order against Brackney shortly before a zoning hearing that would determine the fate of his business.
Authorities are charging Lee with unsworn falsification to authorities, obstructing the administration of law or other government functions, intimidation of a witness or victim and stalking.
The criminal complaint references multiple attempts by Lee to date Brackney, all of which the commander rejected, before he filed the PFA that portrayed the commander as a “scorned woman.”
Lee filed the PFA against Brackney on May 8, 2012and accused her of threatening him and targeting his business after they ended a romantic relationship.
According to the PFA, Brackney told Lee’s attorney that she would “do whatever it takes to get [Lee].”
The PFA was dismissed just nine days later because Lee failed to produce evidence of any romantic relationship between him Cmdr. Brackney and his testimony was inconsistent with evidence. Judge Kelly Bigley called the charges “offensive” and an abuse of the justice system.
The Northside community supported Cmdr. Brackney through the PFA and investigation of Executive Cigars. Ed Graf, East Allegheny Community Council Treasurer, said he did not believe the charges against Brackney were veritable.
“Her actions were driven by the neighborhood,” he said.
Executive Cigars was inbusiness for three years on Suismon Street, in August of 2011 late-night parties on the second floor of the building and a shooting nearby began creating disturbances that concerned neighbors and the East Allegheny Community Council.
After complaints, a court order and police involvement, the late-night parties were stopped in March.
Lee had his occupancy permit revoked and his zoning board adjustment denied by Judge Joseph James on August 2 because he was found to be in contempt of court.
A March 9 court order directed that “there is to be no consumption of alcohol on the premises,” which the court says was violated.
“It is further ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that as a result of executive cigar, LLC’s willful disregard or disobedience of the Order of Court… the zoning approval and occupancy permit for 630 Suism[o]n Street is hereby revoked,” read the order of court.
The cigar shop has been closed for the past two months.