Smoke & Mirrors Alleged in Hookah Store

     DALLAS (CN) – The former owner of a North Texas pipe and hookah store sold mold-infested cigars “in a particularly despicable show of disregard” for public health, the man who bought the store claims in court.
     Pramod Sharma sued Mohamed Shannick in Dallas County Court, claiming he was snookered into overpaying for Star Pipes & Hookah, in Richardson.
     Sharma claims Shannik provided him a doctored profit and loss statement that showed monthly gross income was $45,000 with a profit margin of 50 percent and annual gross profits of $270,000.
     Sharma claims Shannick lied about selling the store to move to New York to be with his family, that he would repair several defects with the store, that he would provide financial reports and records, and that there would be no competing businesses nearby due to the store being “grandfathered” into certain ordinances and regulations concerning the sale of hookah, tobacco and components.
     To top it off, Sharma says, a “considerable” number of the store’s cigars were infested with mold.
     “Some such cigars were individually covered in mold; others were in boxes in which the mold was not only covering the cigars, but was growing out of the box in small stalagmites and stalactites,” the complaint states.
     “Upon information and belief, defendant, rather than discarding these undesirable cigars, instructed his employees-and later Mr. Sharma himself-to simply clean the mold off of the cigars and sell them. In complete disregard for the health ramifications, defendant sold Mr. Sharma, and the store’s customers, cigars that were infested with potentially dangerous mold.”
     Sharma claims that Shannick had employees put new, higher price tags on inventory to boost the items’ alleged retail prices.
     “By way of example, the cost of a given hookah previously sold for $79.99 mysteriously went up to $159.99 for the same hookah within the day immediately preceding the inventory audit,” the complaint states. “Indeed, tens of thousands of dollars were duplicitously obtained by defendant through these tactics. To this day, any patron in the store can easily become confused by the conflicting price tags, and in fact Mr. Sharma has lost business as a result of the nefarious acts of defendant. Moreover, many of the hookahs acquired in the transaction have broken grommets or other defunct parts, rendering them unusable unless Mr. Sharma replaces them to make them saleable. Disposable lighters have been discovered to have only a fifth the amount of lighter fluid they should have in order to be retailed. While these examples are by no means exhaustive, they are intended to give a glimpse into the substandard condition of the store as defendant left it for Mr. Sharma.”
     Sharma seeks actual and punitive damages for deceptive trade, fraud, fraudulent inducement, fraudulent nondisclosure, breach of contract and promissory estoppel. He is represented by Samuel Johnson with Johnson Broome of Dallas.

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