Tumbleweed eviction case to go before judge next week - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Tumbleweed eviction case to go before judge next week

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Representatives of the Tumbleweed restaurant at Waterfront Park have been summoned to appear before a judge next week to answer its landlord's claim that the restaurant is $17,000 behind in rent.

The hearing – set for Tuesday, Sept. 30, in Jefferson District Court -- is required before the landlord, Waterweed LLC, can force the restaurant to vacate the property. 

UPDATE: Late Monday afternoon, Tumbleweed released a Sept. 16 letter from its attorney, Dennis Murrell, claiming that the restaurant has actually overpaid some $470,000 in rent "mistakenly" since 2009. 

Tumbleweed has not been issued an order to vacate and the restaurant continues to operate as normal, said Rick Schardein, a spokesman for Louisville-based Tumbleweed, Inc., which has 29 restaurants.

Only a judge's order can force a tenant out of a property, said Deputy Ray Kaelin of the Jefferson County's Sheriff Office, which handles evictions in metro Louisville.

According to a petition filed Aug. 29 in district court by WaterWeed and CJ Austin LLC, Tumbleweed owes $17,000 for the month of August, plus $850 in late fees. The Aug. 29 petition resulted in the scheduling of the Sept. 30 hearing, according to the document.

“Negotiations are ongoing,” Schardein said Monday. “Tumbleweed has made their position known to Waterfront (Development Corp.) and the attorneys for Waterweed.”

As WDRB reported Sept. 9, Waterfront officials say Tumbleweed missed its quarterly payment to Waterfront for the April-June period. The restaurant pays a fixed amount to Waterweed – its lender in the 2004 construction of the building – and an additional 3.5 percent of its gross sales to the Waterfront agency.

Tumbleweed says the lease is too expensive and that the restaurant is not profitable. It wants better terms.

The alleged over-payment of rent stems from a 2009 adjustment in the lease that said the restaurant would only have to pay a percentage of any sales above $4 million annually, according to Burrell's analysis. The restaurant's sales have not exceeded $4 million in any year since the provision went into effect, yet the restaurant has been paying "percentage rent" by mistake, he wrote.

Gregory Berman, attorney for Waterweed, declined to comment.

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