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Humphrey's on the Delta is photographed in Antioch, Calif., on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The restaurant was named after the wayward whale that swam up the Delta years earlier. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)

ANTIOCH -- This city has sued those with a possible financial interest in a longtime riverfront restaurant in hopes of taking over the property to find a new tenant.

Humphrey's on the Delta restaurant, which closed in December 2012, is built on Antioch-owned marina land and pilings.

Antioch is hoping for a court determination, or quiet title action, declaring it owns the property on One Marina Plaza in "free and clear of any right" and others have no right to make leasehold claims, according to a Contra Costa Superior Court suit.

The complaint names John Majidi, Shahpur Rahimi and Bay Area Employment Development Co. as claiming an "interest adverse" to Antioch's.

"The city has long viewed the former Humphrey's restaurant site as a prime location on the river and critical to the vitality of the Marina and Rivertown area," City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland said. "We look forward to embarking on this exciting economic development opportunity once the court issues its determination."

Antioch originally agreed with Bill Peluso on a 55-year lease for the property at One Marina Plaza in 1987. Peluso borrowed $475,000 from the Bay Area Employment Development group for construction, according to the suit.

Humphrey's was purchased in 1995 by Eva and Gilbert Romero, who borrowed $700,000 from a bank that was acquired by Wells Fargo Bank. They ran the restaurant until 2009 before Rahimi took it over, managing it for two years. The Romeros resumed day-to-day operations after that until it closed.


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The Romeros' lease with the city ceased on Dec. 31, 2012, months after they had filed bankruptcy, according to court documents. All claims on the abandoned property were settled on Feb. 13, which terminated the lease.

Antioch officials say Majidi claims an interest because he acquired the deed of trust from Wells Fargo in 2013, but they assert it "has no effect" since the lease was terminated, according to court documents.

The city also alleges Rahimi, though not a lessee, claims he was in business with Romero.

Bay Area Development officials say they don't have an interest in the property.

"It's really just a housekeeping item for the city at this point," said Sue Dunlap, a company loan portfolio manager.

Rahimi said Friday he ran the business and paid rent to Romero and the city from 2009 to early 2011. He says he was approached by Majidi about running the business in early 2013.

"What happened between him and the city after that, I don't know," he said.

Majidi did not return multiple phone calls this week seeking comment.

While legal issues are hashed out, Antioch will continue to keep the 12,432-square-foot vacant building maintained and secure from squatters and vandals.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.