The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Short’s Burger and Shine ordered to close after lawsuit with MidWestOne Bank

The business must vacate 18 S. Clinton St. by Feb. 10.
Matt Sindt
Short’s Burgers and Shine recently remodeled and reopened their location in downtown Iowa City and are serving customers on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Short’s Burger and Shine was ordered to vacate its downtown Iowa City restaurant at 18 S. Clinton St. by Feb. 10 after a judge ruled the business failed to renew its lease.

Kevin Perez, owner of Short’s Burger and Shine, has been engaged in ongoing legal battles with the property’s landlord MidWestOne Bank for nearly three years. 

MidWestOne Bank previously filed three lawsuits against Short’s Burger from July 2022 to May 2023. The lawsuit in May claimed Short’s did not provide enough notice to renew its lease with MidWestOne Bank according to court documents. Two of the three lawsuits against Short’s were dismissed in March and April 2023.

Short’s owners filed their own lawsuit against MidWestOne in March 2023 over reported claims that MidWestOne Bank was not fixing necessary repairs of the property, including a deteriorating back wall and gas line issues, which violated the lease agreement. 

The restaurant temporarily closed in April 2022 for renovations and reopened in August 2022.

Dennis Mitchell, a trust officer at MidWestOne Bank, testified in court that Short’s was reportedly never required to close due to issues with the back wall or gas meter according to court documents filed Jan. 31.

Mitchell testified that Short’s Burger and Shine reportedly did not give enough notice to renew the lease, having not been contacted by Perez with the intent to renew its lease before March 2023. 

The court ruled that Short’s had not given MidWestOne enough notice to renew its release, which resulted in the ruling that Short’s must vacate by Feb. 10.

Perez’s legal counsel Shawn Shearer said in a news release on Tuesday that the group plans on appealing the decision.

“We have civil rights issues to litigate, so this is not over by a long shot,” the release read.

Perez spoke at Iowa City’s most recent Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Meeting claiming MidWestOne Bank is purposefully trying to push him out of the downtown Iowa City property. 

The property in question was previously owned by Haywood Belle, who was a third-generation African American business owner. Belle died in 2016 and left the building to a trust operated by MidWestOne Bank. 

For nearly 50 years, the business Short’s Shoe Shine and Repair run by H.D. Short occupied 18 S. Clinton St. Short’s name is included in the current business as a memorial to the building’s past. 

Because of the building’s history of Black ownership associated with the property, Perez argued it should be protected by the TRC and added to the historic preservation list so MidWestOne Bank won’t keep “letting the building rot.”

“Minority accomplishment cannot just be erased so that the city is easier to gentrify,” Perez said. “I may be gone from this space for now, but I assure you I will continue to fight for myself, my family, my employees, Haywood Belle, H.D. Short, and their ancestors. Downtown Iowa City needs to be for everyone.”

MidWestOne Bank did not respond to The Daily Iowan for comment at the time of publication.

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About the Contributor
Jack Moore, News Editor
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes."