Stonyman can stay through January

Suit dropped, settlement allows sale to go ahead

Stonyman Gourmet Farmer cafe/cheese shop owners Alan and Susan James say they can remain in business at their Gay Street mercantile store location through January, according to the terms of an out-of-court settlement reached this week.

Stonyman Gourmet reached an out-of-court settlement that allows it to remain at its Gay Street quarters until Jan. 15.
Stonyman Gourmet reached an out-of-court settlement that allows it to remain at its Gay Street quarters until Jan. 15. | Rappahannock News

In exchange for dropping their suit against Sunny View LLC in Rappahannock County Circuit Court, the Jameses said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday, they get to stay through the busy fall and holiday seasons. Though the statement didn’t address the matter of the sale, Sunny View can apparently proceed with the sale of the mercantile store and adjacent gardens to Clopton House LLC, the Inn at Little Washington-related partnership that owns the recently opened Parsonage, a six-suite addition to the Inn’s luxury hotel inventory.

The Parsonage, formerly known as Clopton House, overlooks the the Stonyman garden and patios. The sale price was reported this spring at $500,000. The Inn was also reportedly planning to lease or sell the restored mercantile store to artist Kevin Adams, who hoped to use it as a studio and gallery. Both Adams and the Inn have declined to comment on any such plans.

Susan James, whose announcement said Stonyman “expects to retain a presence in Washington, Va., and is currently seeking a new location there,” said she and her husband were happy the matter was settled.  “We are delighted to be able to turn our focus back to our enterprise during our peak season,” she said in the prepared release.

In May, after being asked to leave because they had no current lease, the Jameses sued Sunny View (an LLC owned by former Sunnyside Farm owner David Cole, local agent Jimmie DeBergh and a Cole-related LLC known as Aqua Terra). Their suit alleged that Sunny View failed to honor oral agreements that would allow them to stay in the shop they’ve leased since 2008.

In two separate hearings, the Jameses’ suit was thrown out of court — until Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker on Oct. 2 ruled against Sunny View attorney Michael Brown’s motion to dismiss, sending the case to an injunction hearing.

Negotiations between the Inn and the Jameses for a settlement — a settlement that reportedly includes an agreement by all parties not to disparage each other publicly — began shortly after that ruling.

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 544 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.