The owners of an Easton dessert business are turning to the city for help again

An Easton investigation released last month found no wrongdoing or bias by city officials in looking into allegations by business owners about how the city handled code violations in the downtown areas where they lived and worked.

Hanisa and Sean Darby, owners of The Pudding Bar at 118-120 Northampton St., said they were unhappy with the report and appeared before a city council committee Tuesday night to discuss the building’s history, code issues and what they consider a flawed investigation.

The council took no action but plans to continue looking into the couple’s allegations, a process that could take several weeks and include interviews with city officials and others, including the building’s owner, Borka Milosov. Other than the council and city officials, no one else was present, and the Darbys were the only ones to speak.

“It looks like there may have been some missteps,” Councilman Kenneth Brown said at the end of the 2.5-hour meeting. “That’s why the attorney is telling the board that we need a process and to do it gradually so that we get all the data we need before we go forward.”

The couple, who are Black, also alleged racism and favoritism against Miloshav and his companies, including Nazareth-based 120 Northampton LLC. However, the July 13 city report found no signs of favoritism.

City Administrator Luis Campos, who investigated the couple’s complaints, also said in the report that he found insufficient support for claims that the city’s code office was apathetic to their concerns about the building’s safety, and that an inspection of the floor in their store showed that there was no structural issue.

“I have reviewed all types of communication and correspondence between our codes and planning department and the applicants,” Campos said in his report. “In addition to the above, I have conducted extensive interviews with all of the codes officers involved and have found no instances where they acted inappropriately.

“All the information I have indicates a connection with [the Darbys] were timely, professional, courteous and in accordance with protocol.’

On Tuesday night, the Darbys called the Compass report vague and complained about a lack of access to documents related to building violations and code inspections. Campos, who spoke only briefly about how the committee was formed to investigate Darby’s claims, said in the report that under the Uniform Building Code, the city has the right to withhold property records, including inspection reports, from anyone other than the building. owner or representative.

“If you withhold a record, you have to tell us what record you’re withholding, why you’re withholding that record,” Sean Darby said. “We did not receive such courtesy. This should not be a problem for [city officials] who say what kind of people they are.”

Darby appeared at a city council meeting on May 25 after they voluntarily closed The Pudding bar because of an uneven floor, which they claimed a private engineer had suggested should not be used for public spaces. The Darby family spoke for more than an hour, making accusations that one city code inspector failed to address their concerns to their satisfaction.

Both Darbys took turns speaking during Tuesday’s meeting, addressing issues previously discussed and raising new issues.

Hansia Darby provided several handouts, including an article on the city’s website about building safety.

“What should I do if the building seems unsafe and needs repair and maintenance?” she said, reading the handout. “It says, call the code. We are trying to make sense of it all.”

Darby was asked several times why city officials in the code failed to act promptly on issues with gender, for example.

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“The city stopped talking to us for two months,” Hanisa Darby said. “Nobody has a problem with that. Did you find anything, Louis, that says they haven’t spoken to us in two months?’

Mayor Sal Panto Jr. and Darby agreed on several points, which Panto suggested the council investigate, including why city officials have not been able to contact Darby for two months about some of their concerns and whether the city should loosen its policy on tenants who have access for violation of building codes.

In addition to the city’s case, Miloszow filed court documents seeking more than $116,000 in rent from Hanisa Darby and Mark Galuboic, a business partner. Meanwhile, the Darbys have filed a lawsuit in Northampton County Court against Miloshav over injuries they suffered in early 2021 when a window fell on the Northampton Street property. Both cases remain open, online court records show.

The husband and wife marketed their gourmet pudding products both online and in local establishments but the store is in the center of Easton remained closed. A sign on the front door explained the closure “due to the uncertain condition of our floor and our sincere concern for the safety of the public.”

Darbys opened in Easton in August 2016 on the South Side. They moved downtown, first to 74 N. Fourth Street and then to their current location in 2019. The pandemic initially forced them to close shop in 2020.

Contact Morning Call reporter Anthony Solomon at

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