Why This Billionaire Has Gone to War With a Little Nantucket Clam Shack

Strap in, folks: Looks like the fight over a proposed Nantucket clam shack is far from over.

Billionaire Charles Johnson has sued the owners of the forthcoming Straight Wharf Fish Market in the town’s Superior Court in hopes of overturning the decision to grant the establishment local and state liquor licenses, the Nantucket Current reported. This is just the latest move in a months-long saga involving the restaurant.

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Kevin Burleson and Gabriel Frasca, the eatery’s proprietors, first received approval from the town’s board members in March for their business despite local opposition from nearby wealthy residents, who had concerns of the establishment’s impact on the enclave, The Boston Globe reported. The next month, an attorney for Johnson—a neighbor of the proposed locale—tried to halt the project by arguing that construction on the building violated its permit for work performed near a wetland, according to Forbes. Alas, the attempts to block the restaurant were unsuccessful.

In the lawsuit, Johnson’s lawyer argues that the liquor decision didn’t consider the number of businesses in the area that already sell alcoholic beverages and the possible congestion, noise, and effect on its neighbors that the restaurant may cause. An inquiry from Robb Report to Johnson’s attorney was not immediately returned.

The Town of Nantucket, the local select board, and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission were also named as defendants in the lawsuit, according to the Daily Beast.

Frasca told the publication that he tried to talk to Johnson before the billionaire filled the lawsuit. The owner of the proposed clam shack previously introduced himself and told Johnson “we were committed to being a good neighbor to him.” However, Frasca says, “it appears that’s a one-way promise. But so be it.”

“No one likes being told no,” Frasca told the Daily Beast. “I think some people have options to sort of game out not hearing ‘no’ a little better than the rest of us. And perhaps some people just due to disposition are less well inclined to hear ‘no.’”

Johnson is the former CEO of investment firm Franklin Resources and has an estimated net worth of $4.8 billion, Forbes reported.

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