Thom Pham's Wondrous Azian Kitchen closed suddenly after two years at Sixth Street and Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis -- but that may be the least of his worries now that he's facing felony charges.
According to the note on the door and the website, customers are being directed to the Azian Market at 26th Street and Nicollet Avenue, aimed to be a rival of the original Azia restaurant that dominated the corner in downtown. Azia Market was scheduled to re-open in the spring, but the date has since been pushed to Nov. 7.
However, the restaurateur behind those eaters has other concerns. Pham was charged by summons for allegedly issuing dishonored checks. A-Z Restaurant Equipment, of Princeton, is listed as the victim in the criminal complaint out of Mille Lacs County.
The owner claims Pham wrote him more than $30,000 worth of bad checks back in March for kitchen equipment delivered to Azia Market. The owner said he's been trying for months to get the money back.
A felony arrest warrant was issued for Pham after he didn't show up for his first court appearance on Sept. 11.
By phone, Pham told FOX 9 he didn't know anything about the charges or the warrant for his arrest. He also said he does not own Azia Market and is not connected to it.
The third party which owns Azia Market, and wants to remain private, says the restaurant was purchased about a month ago and did not know anything about the charges or the bad checks Pham is accused of writing.
In statement, Pham's attorney, Avery Appelman, said:
Mr. Pham is a respected local businesses man and restaurateur. It's unfortunate that just today he became aware of these allegations. What I will tell you is that Mr. Pham maintains his innocence. We are going to work diligently with the county attorney's office in Mille Lacs County to gather all the facts and circumstances surrounding these allegations. What we ask is that people that know Mr. Pham, as well as the public at large, don't rush to judgment. Be patient, let the criminal justice system run its course, and let all the parties have their say.
Appelman would not answer any questions about the charges Pham faces. He only added, "Our intention is to post the bail and get a court date."