Landlord succeeds in evicting Mulligans over disputed fees
February 26, 2010
Mulligans Irish Pub has been told leave lower Main Street by March 15.
Owner John Sutton and his attorney are trying to appeal that date and want a whole month to vacate, but he will have to find somewhere other than 804 Main Street from which to operate his business for not paying $13,000 in overdue rent.
Earlier this month, Sutton told 3rd District Court judge Robert Hilder that he didn’t pay the rent because he questioned his landlord’s accounting. He called NNN Summit Watch’s invoices suspicious and wanted a forensic accountant to make sense of the landlord’s claim of $50,000.
In a decision made earlier this week, Hilder reserved judgment on the exact amount owed suggesting he, too, had trouble reconciling the claims but said that since $13,000 was agreed upon, Sutton deserved eviction for not paying at least that amount.
Hilder also said in the decision that the burden was on the landlord to prove what is owed both for contested expenses marketing The Shops at The Village on Main and other Common Areas Maintenance (CAM) fees.
"There’s going to be evidentiary hearings on money," Sutton said. "So the case is not resolved. Why should I have to leave before it’s resolved?" he said.
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The decision appears to be a victory for NNN Summit Watch, but as in the earlier eviction of The Alpine Internet Café the first week of February, both parties still contest the amount they owe.
It is unclear why in this soft commercial real estate market a landlord would push the eviction of two successful tenants because of what essentially amounts to accounting disputes over maintenance fees.
No one from Thompson National Properties, owners of NNN Summit Watch, wished to comment for this story, but the company did submit a Letter to the Editor to The Park Record.
Sutton originally said he hoped the litigation would aid his efforts to negotiate a resolution with NNN Summit Watch. He previously said he planned to finish the eight years remaining on his lease and to pay what he owed once the exact amount was determined.
"I’m just trying to get from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to reality," he said Wednesday.
But now he believes "good faith" negotiating cannot take place and wants to leave, he said.
"Frankly at this point I want to move out I don’t want to deal with them," he said.
Even though he’s been a good tenant and is willing to eventually pay what he owes, Sutton said he believes NNN Summit Watch wants him out because they don’t like that his lease was written before they took ownership of the complex in 2006. His impression from speaking with his neighbors is that the company only wants to work with leases it wrote, he said.
He also said there’s great irony in that NNN Summit Watch is late on its rent to its landlord on the property as well.
He knows because he owns a timeshare in the Marriott Summit Watch and an Oct. 9 report from the owners association said NNN Summit Watch is delinquent on $272,500 (as of Sept. 11, 2009) and was in litigation. His communications with association leadership suggests that dispute is ongoing. A lien was filed against the company for about $90,000 in November 2008 with the Summit County Recorder’s Office.
Still, Sutton could have stayed if not for $13,000. He doesn’t regret not paying, he said, because it doesn’t make any sense to pay first, and then spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees to get back what you never owed.
He said he plans to reopen Mulligans in the Park City area, but "is not tied to Main Street."