Thompson contests Marriott Summit Watch fees
June 4, 2010
Thompson National Property’s unpaid rent to the Marriott Summit Watch continues to rack up to the tune of $35,750 a month.
A court hearing is scheduled later this month to review the company’s justifications for not paying the money it claims is withheld due to the Summit Watch homeowners association’s negligence.
The amount Summit Watch says it owed is now around half a million dollars.
Attorneys, the general manager and association presidents for Summit Watch could not be reached. A Thompson spokesperson said the company had no comment.
Former commercial tenant and current homeowner association member John Sutton finds irony in the refusal to pay since his business, Mulligan’s Irish Pub, was evicted earlier this year for refusing to pay Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees because he claimed mismanagement.
That’s actually part of the argument made by Thompson doing business at the location as NNN Summit Watch and Triple Net.
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After a lawsuit was filed in 3rd District Court, Thompson made a counterclaim against the association saying that because 75 percent of the property is residential (hotel) units, the association neglected the needs of the remaining commercial units and common areas serving them. That negligence led particular maintenance problems to go unaddressed so that their eventual repairs were more expensive than necessary.
In the original counterclaim and in arguments made to the court since, Thompson said passing those extra expenses on to commercial tenants prompted Coda Gallery, Mulligan’s and Alpine Internet Café to complain and withhold rent. That led to the eventual eviction of the latter two.
Sutton, a Platinum member of Summit Watch, said he’s privy to communications within the association’s board and finds that reasoning flawed.
Recent association newsletters have said Thompson told the board it is financially unable to pay the money (a Thompson employee is a member of that board).
"These guys (Thompson) are using this. They’re counter suing to make Marriott ride up a bunch of legal fees. It’s totally bogus," he said Thursday.
The alleged negligence caused leakage, sometimes into the commercial units, court documents said.
Sutton and Alpine Internet Café co-owner Bryan Markkanen say leakage and paying for leakage had nothing to do with their dispute with the company. They both wanted clearer explanations for why their CAM fees kept increasing inexplicably. If it was due to repairs, that was never made clear, they said.
Additionally, both men found the explanation confusing on Thursday.
"As a business owner there and a current Platinum owner, the Marriott entity has always fulfilled its obligations in maintaining the property in the utmost professional manner," Sutton said.
"There were some ceiling tiles replaced because of leakage, but Marriott handled it. I didn’t deal with the landlords (Thompson) on that issue," Markkanen said. "There were no big problems. It had absolutely no bearing on why we didn’t pay our CAM fees."
Coda Gallery owner Connie Katz said she experienced about 20 floods in the past four years. It has damaged art and her space. The unit even had a problem this past week, she added.
Katz said she isn’t clear on whether the blame belongs to Thompson or Marriott, but said she finds Thompson very difficult to work with and isn’t afraid to say so because she’s all paid up on rent.
"It’s just weird, just really weird. I’ve never felt like this. You feel trapped," she said Thursday. "They don’t respond to calls, emails or letters. I’m amazed anyone is renting from them."
Another business owner who didn’t want to be named said his CAM fees have gone up about 150 percent just this spring.
But the units appear to be remaining full. Oishi Sushi said they just renewed their lease and a renovation is underway for a new business coming into the space formerly occupied by Alpine Internet Café.
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