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Is James McGown the Bane of Brooklyn Communities?

An in-depth profile in Crain's New York Business sheds light on some of the real estate developer, restaurateur and bar owner's questionable practices.


A crowd of revelers raised a farewell toast to Brooklyn's oldest bar on St. Patrick's Day. But can a pint of Guinness wash down the sour taste left behind from a bad business deal with James McGown?

PJ Hanley's Chapter 11 filing was owner McGown's fourth separate bankruptcy petition in the past 12 months, and at least his sixth since 2009, according to a profile in Crain's New York Business. Tenants, landlords and others who have had to work with the multi-hyphenate businessman repeat similar experiences of a gruff steamroller who sidesteps rules, neighborliness and best practice negotiations in an obsessed pursuit of getting what he wants.

His string of financially unstable restaurants (South Brooklyn Pizza chain) and bars (Park Slope's Cherry Tree, Boston's Bulfinch Yacht Club) reported on Patch in the past aren't McGown's only infractions.

The Crain's article reveals a history as a residential landlord who has hosted wild sex parties in the basement of a TriBeCa property, who let other buildings located at 555 Union St. and 557 Union St. in Gowanus languish, and who allegedly failed to return security deposits for other dwellings.

The article also reports that in an apparent lack of transparency, his other Carroll Gardens restaurant Buschenschank received a C rating from The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in September, but a "Grade Pending" sign still hung in the window this month.

What do you think of this, readers? Can anyone attest to the incidents listed here or others?

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