The savior of one of the oldest bars in the city, which served as the backdrop for a scene in the 1990 mob classic “Goodfellas,” should be 86ed until he opens the books to his fellow shareholder, according to a lawsuit.
Andrew Bigan, 65, claims Loycent Gordon, who has been running the day-to-day operations at Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven for years and spearheaded efforts to save the Queens watering hole, has shut him out of the business. The bar opened in 1829.
Bigan, a realtor, became a 25% shareholder in Neir’s in 2009 with his wife, Melanie, who ran Neir’s for a few years before stepping away in 2012 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She died in 2015.
Gordon took over a 75% stake in Neir’s around that time, buying out two other shareholders and running the place.
But despite keeping Neir’s going through tough times, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Gordon was looking to get out of the business in 2019, according to Bigan’s Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
Gordon allegedly complained he was “always in the red” and “could never make enough money,” and asked Bigan to help him find someone to take over Neir’s, according to legal papers.
The following year, with no warning, Gordon announced Neir’s would close — prompting a public outcry and an $80,000 grant from the city to save it, Bigan claims.
The bar was ultimately saved, but Gordon then allegedly ignored Bigan’s calls and texts and shut him out of the bar’s social media accounts, Bigan charges in court papers.
“He just wants to know what’s going on, and also, to get some compensation, because he never gave up his status as a shareholder,” said Bigan’s lawyer, Susan Warnock. “He did offer to help over the years and it was kind of rebuffed.”
Gordon should be removed from the bar’s day-to-day operations and it should be run by a neutral third party, said Bigan, who said he’s not been paid anything since Gordon took over and wants a judge to order an accounting of the business.
Gordon denied the allegations.
“My mission since 2009 has been and continues to be to keep historic Neir’s Tavern open and sustainable before, during, and after the pandemic,” he said in a statement, calling the bar “a labor of love.”
“Neir’s is an intrinsic part of the Woodhaven community and we are grateful to all those who have supported us in Queens and beyond … I am extremely saddened that someone would make a blatant attempt for their own profit, that could jeopardize the future of Neir’s Tavern. We intend to defend Neir’s vigorously against these allegations.”