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City Buzz:Burbank merchants’ feud escalates in Mag Park

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Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Merchant Ralph Persinger in his shop Burbank Antiques 3423 West Magnolia Blvd. Burbank August 22, 20115

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Merchant Ralph Persinger in his shop Burbank Antiques 3423 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank August 22, 2015

That bitter merchants’ feud in the 3400 block of West Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, once thought to be dying down,  has escalated with more nasty allegations, a police report, and a mystery videotape. I began covering the dispute back in August of 2014, when it centered on the fight for one-hour parking on the north side of the block. Most of the complaints were directed at Romancing the Bean, 3413 West Magnolia Boulevard. During that battle, allegations of harassment and bullying were leveled against the Bean’s owner, Kerry Krull, as well.

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Romancing the Bean 3413 West Magnolia Boulevard Burbank August 8, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Romancing the Bean 3413 West Magnolia Boulevard Burbank August 8, 2014

Some merchants feel Krull’s busy cafe is the source of most of the parking problems because it was allowed to open without fulfilling the usual requirement for adequate parking. One of those merchants is Ralph Persinger, co-owner with his wife Kim, of Burbank Antiques at 3423 West Magnolia Boulevard.

Persinger has been outspoken about his views; sending letters to City Hall, Media City Groove, and even writing a guest column for this website. New one-hour parking restriction signs became permanent fixtures on that section of Magnolia Boulevard last December. That battle is over, but the feud has continued to smolder on the block. A couple of weeks ago, an incident fired-up the feud to red-hot and got tongues wagging all over B-town. (warning graphic details to follow)

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- 3400 block of West Magnolia Boulevard Burbank August 7, 2014

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — 3400 block of West Magnolia Boulevard Burbank August 7, 2014

Back on the morning of August 21, 2015, Ralph Persinger says Burbank Police Officer, Ashley Johnson, walked into Burbank Antiques and made a startling declaration: “I remember her coming into  my store and saying she just saw me on a security video at R.T.B. coming out of the bathroom  and that I defecated in the restaurant bathroom waste basket !” Persinger, who explained what happened in emails, reportedly told the officer he had never been in the Bean.

Persinger says the officer told him “if I would  apologize, and tell her I wouldn’t do it again, they  would not press charges against me.” Persinger asked the officer about a DNA sample: “That’s when she dropped a bombshell on the whole situation. Officer Johnson  said to me, and my wife Kim, in front of  Best of Times that the so-called  incident occurred 5 days earlier and, [ No evidence was preserved]. ”

And there’s more. Persinger says:”Later that morning Mike Nolan called  Sgt. Kendrick (BPD) . He showed up at the store at about 5:00 P.M. and said that Officer Johnson was a rookie and mishandled the initial investigation with an ongoing known dispute!  Sgt. Kendrick also said he would get to the bottom of the incident. He called the station and got me the police report  I.D .”

And then another development after Persinger’s lawyer got involved;  “They told him the charges were dismissed.  Kerry told the police she thought it was me until I stated that I’ve never stepped foot inside her restaurant!”

Persinger wants copies of the police report and the video. On the day that Officer Johnson interviewed Persinger he says ,” Officer Johnson told me I would have to wait 2 or three business days for processing. Then, I could come to the Police Station and get a copy of the  report & tape.” It’s been three weeks and Persinger has not been able to get a copy of the police report nor a copy of the video from the Burbank PD. He was told to fill out a public records request for the materials and he did. And you guessed it, he later received a letter rejecting that request.

BPD letter to merchant Ralph Persinger dated August 28, 2015

Persinger is not giving up. He feels he has been victimized by the incident. He wants to clear his name and reputation: “Everybody on both sides of my store (and) street knows about this incident by word of mouth! All the way down to the Blue Pig, Captain Vintage & The Bearded Lady !!! “

There are many questions about the incident that have been left hanging in the air and producing fodder for the rumor mill. Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse has given a lot of lip-service to transparency. Here’s an opportunity to do more than just talk. As we’ve heard many times, actions speak much louder than words. The Burbank Police need to release the police report and alleged  incriminating videotape.

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18 Responses to City Buzz:Burbank merchants’ feud escalates in Mag Park

  1. Mag Park Reader Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Great job reporting this, Fronnie. You did miss one salient point–Romancing the Bean’s lavatory video surveillance program!! What’s up with that?

    The shenanigans of the vindictive Krull and BPD’s eager service as her personal goon squad are downright outrageous and unbelievable–or would be in any other California city.

    But here in Burbank, it’s Standard Operating Procedure; favoritism from the police and city hall to Krull and thuggery, obstruction and lies from the PD to Krull’s victims.

    And no prosecution for Krull’s illegal bathroom videotaping??

  2. Emilia Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    Wait—there’s video surveillance in the bathroom???

  3. Fronnie Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    Mag Reader,

    There are many questions about the Bean’s surveillance tape — is it inside or outside the bathroom? Also, did the alleged perpetrator really look like Burbank Antiques shop owner Ralph Persinger? We’re not going to know the answers until an independent party gets to eyeball that tape and report what’s on it.

    As for the BPD’s involvement, you have to be suspicious of the department’s foot- dragging over releasing the police report and video to the person accused of the alleged offense. The City of Burbank has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on lawyer fees and settlements for those police cases involving misconduct. City officials have been trying to convinced residents the “bad apples” have been kicked out and the mismanagement corrected. However, the department’s handling of this incident has a lot of folks wondering if anything has really changed in the BPD.

  4. Fronnie Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    Emilia,

    Yes, that’s a big question right now. If a surveillance camera is in the bathroom you have to wonder why it was installed and if privacy rights of users have been violated.

  5. LB33 Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 8:27 am #

    And Mike Mulllin is a self-appointed community liaison who can comment on behalf of the police to merchants?

  6. LB33 Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    “Sgt. Kendrick also said he would get to the bottom of the incident.”- Please tell me he didn’t say that.

  7. Hope and Change Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    “…However, the department’s handling of this incident has a lot of folks wondering if anything has really changed in the BPD….” A lot has changes at BPD. The most notable being the less effective police services the community is receiving by the department. 12-18 understaffed! That’s what has changed. When is the community going to wake up? The recent article in myburbank needs to be dissected, but nobody cares to do it.

  8. Mark Reinhart Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

    I am visiting Burbank from back east and as always swing by the 3400 block of Magnolia to hit the antiques shops. What Burbank City Council fails to grasp is that the Burbank Magnolia Park antiques merchants have a national following. When we visit from the east coast, as do other collector/dealers, we make a point to buy from these well known/well established antiques merchants. When I first learned that a coffee shop was coming to the area I thought it would be a good addition to the variety of merchants presently in one of my favorite places to shop. When I found that the city was not enforcing its own ordinances regarding parking for this new merchant I thought that this is not going to end well. Apparently this I underestimated. Note to Burbank City Council: Selective enforcement of your zoning ordinances is done so at your peril. When a future merchant is unhappy that you only selectively enforce your ordinances you may expect a lawsuit based upon arbitrary and capricious enforcement of your ordinances. The legal defense of course born by the taxpayers should enhance your re-election, but I digress. To read at this web site about unfounded accusations against a long established merchant suggesting fecal decoration in a restroom on videotape, even I was rendered speechless, at least initially. As pointed out by a reader above, video in the restroom? Really? And how gullible is the Burbank PD? Does Burbank not have ordinances against filing a false police report? Does the Burbank PD not investigate allegations before making slanderous accusations to innocent citizens? Just where does this end? I will return to southern California next year. I hope to read that sanity has prevailed with elected officials and that public servants will be, I know it is a concept, serving the public.

  9. Barbie#1 Friday, September 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    Fronnie
    After reading this article, I am completely disgusted with how this sad situation is playing out ! Shame on the Burbank Police Department and shame on the ruthless restaurant owner Kerry Krull to sink to such a low level against a neighboring merchant trying to exist in a tough retail environment. Having a camera in Romancing The Bean’s bathroom is a very scary thought. To know that they are watching their customers use the lavatory is quite alarming and illegal in my opinion.. I’ve just read her Yelps, and she is no saint ! Apparently she yells at her employees in front of her customers, and her employees are rude to customers. I have eaten there once and it was the first and last time for me because the foods not that great and very overpriced for what it is! She seems to be a self centered , vindictive store owner on the street with only her best interests at heart ! I strongly believe she owes Mr. Persinger an apology for this travesty against his good name.

  10. Gramma Linda Friday, September 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Fronnie
    I’ve Shopped this block for years —- since this restaurant moved
    in,so many stores are upset.To be honest, I believe they are
    intimidated by the owner of Romancing The Bean.This guy Ralph,appears
    to be the only one with the nerve to take a stand.It’s rare in life
    that a bully (Owner of R.T.B. ) runs into a brick wall like this. Ralph
    is going to have to roll over (like the rest of the merchants) or
    continue on his path. It’s a desperate bully that will resort to a
    false police report about the alleged defecation .I’m totally
    disgusted!!

  11. Deborah Friday, September 18, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    Pretty childish to stoop to poop slander, and for what gain? I agree with the others the police’s handling of this incident and the ongoing unrest is atrocious. Give tickets when deserved and stop wasting time on ludicrous accusations..

  12. Erik Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    Fronnie,

    After reading this blog, Kerry Krull owner of Romancing the Bean has no conscience on how far she will go to slander one of her business neighbors. I’ve shopped the entire block and enjoy the search for whatever meets my fancy on that day. Everyone on the street is an asset to the block! I’ve patronized her restaurant several times, and honestly it’s not as great as she thinks it is! I will never step foot inside her eatery again! I don’t know Ralph that well but several dealers on the block speak very highly of Ralph. How dare she step to such a low level. She should be ashamed of herself!

  13. Kimberly Friday, September 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    I find this entire episode rather entertaining, as I have shopped that particular block for decades … and welcome the addition of Romancing The Bean. Perhaps Ralph isn’t badmouthing the eatery, but his wife Kim certainly gets her unsolicited jabs in every time I visit their antiques store. I believe in supporting local businesses, but local business owners need to learn how to get along. Until RTB came along, there were no parking issues along that stretch of Magnolia and Avon because very little foot traffic stopped there once Cindy’s Cafe was converted to Urban Eats. Enough already on the partisan bickering.

  14. DixieFlyer Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    The ongoing saga on Magnolia is NOT entertaining for most of us.

    Off-and-on there have been parking problems in MagPark going back to Fitz’s in late 50’s and 60’s, depending on who had a $ale.

    Ralph’s wife Kim deserves our respect for living with Ralph!!

    (That was intended to be warmth for her AND Ralph.)

    The line about “partisan bickering” is the peculiar one.

    Kimberly needs to look that up in her Funk&Wagnall.

  15. Doris Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    I read this blog after hearing about the goings on at the 3400 block of W. Magnolia Blvd. Kimberly doesn’t get it. She’s missed the point of the article. After I read the article and find the behavior of the owner of “Romancing the Bean” disgusting and despicable. She’s RUTHLESS! I also watched the last Burbank City Council meeting, I was Impressed when Mike Nolan spoke, and called the owner of, Romancing the Bean, “Scary Kerry”. Did you see it Kimberly? From the tone of your response you must be a loyal bean customer. I just enjoy shopping the block looking for treasures not a cup of over priced coffee.

  16. Beverlee Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 1:27 am #

    I’m sorry to hear this feud between shops at 3400 block of Magnolia, is still in full swing! Perhaps if Romancing the Bean had been subjected to the usual requirements for adequate parking, things would not be escalating! I have shopped along this block for many years, with no parking problems until this restaurant appeared. Now, I often drive right by the businesses I frequented, (after driving around the block at least once), as there is no parking! I am as frustrated as the shop owners. Additionally, accusing a person of an incident, (Ralph),without absolute proof, is ridiculous! Certainly a police officer should not have just marched into Ralph’s store and announced his guilt! Yes, Romancing the Bean has a right to make a living, BUT,subject to the SAME rules as all the the other shops.

  17. Daniel Glass Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Fronnie,

    Thank you for keeping up with this never ending saga. I read your article and all the comments. Why would some people question the truth since the Burbank police was involved? It seems to me that Kerry’s mission in life is to destroy the Burbank businesses especially now that she bought the Urban Eats place. How can she look herself in a mirror after trying to ruin someone else business, reputation and personal life?
    I am really shocked of what is going on and the lack of response from the City and the police. Can’t blame the rookie since a report was taken and charges were made in writing! So, there should be proof that either Kerry lied or Ralph was there. It is not a mystery but a cover-up.
    I am a frequent shopper in the area and I must confess! Since Kerry opened the coffee shop I heard only bad things about her. I never met this person just because I would not pay her prices and I am happy I didn’t. Who knows? After what I am hearing, she might even spit in my coffee if she wouldn’t like me.
    I would urge Ralph to take legal action and maybe then a lot of things will be proved including who is protecting her.

  18. Sally Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    This is disgusting. I frequent the shops in Magnolia Park weekly. Who in their right mind accuses a fellow merchant of something as disgusting as this? Someone with a sick, twisted, vindictive mind. Romancing the Bean, its owner and all of its employees should be ashamed of spreading this disgusting RUMOR. Ms. Krull aka Ms. CRUEL owes Mr. Persinger an apology. These shops have been established and thriving for years, in comes the coffee shop/restaurant and everything is disrupted. Mr. Persinger, take the high road, I’m sorry that you had to deal with this ridiculous accusation.

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