Community Owned. Local News. Burke County, NC.

Bella Vino vs. City of Morganton: Jury Deliberates Complex Eviction Case

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After two weeks of testimony, the Bella Vino vs. City of Morganton trial has concluded, leaving the jury to deliberate on whether the city breached its lease with Bella Vino's owner, Emmanuel Manolakas. The trial, which initially centered on late payments, revealed deeper complexities.

  • Jury's Charge: Judge Wesley Barkley instructed the jury to decide if the city breached the 2018 lease and determine compensation.
  • City's Argument: The city claimed Manolakas failed to make timely payments and pay property taxes, disqualifying him from lease renewal.
  • Defense's Argument: Manolakas's attorney cited 30 incidents of the city's breach of responsibilities, seeking $1.75 million in damages.
  • Unanimous Verdict Required: The 12 jurors must unanimously agree to reach a true verdict.
  • Background: Bella Vino challenged the eviction notice, and a magistrate judge initially ruled in their favor in January 2023, prompting the city's appeal.

A full version of this story will be included in Saturday's edition of The Paper.