Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is a landlord trying to jack Ely's?

Copy of lawsuit and counterclaim

Jackson Street Property Management filed suit in Madison County Court on November 10, 2009 against Ely's Restaurant for breach of contract. The plaintiff is the landlord of Ely's and claims it is owed thousands of dollars in unpaid rent. Ely's is owned by Richard Shapley.

Jackson Street claims, are you ready for this?, it resurveyed the building and suddenly discovered Ely's "occupied 270 square feet more than the 3000 square feet indicated in the lease". Jackson Street then demanded back rent for the extra 270 square feet from the date when Ely's first assumed the lease. Oddly enough, Jackson Street didn't include a copy of the lease in the lawsuit, claiming it was "voluminous and Ely's has a copy of that lease or has access to a copy of that lease." Hey Jackson, what about the judge? remember him? He might want a copy of the lease if he is going to adjudicate your suit. Jackson claims Ely's owes him $6,846 for the additional space and wants to charge him an additional $528.75 a month for the additional square feet. Oh, and he wants attorney's fees paid by Ely's as well.

Mr. Shapley was having none of it and fired back with a demand for $500,000 in his own counterclaim as he accused John F. Campbell, the owner of Jackson Street, of dealing with him in bad faith and harassing him so he would terminate his lease early. He also claimed Campbell
1. Failed to install a dumpster
2. Backcharged Ely's for water usage which wasn't the restaurant's responsibility.
3. Tried to stick Ely's with the HFAC maintenance contract
4. Required Ely's to carry higher insurance policy limits than the lease specified
5. Failed to maintain appearance and condition.
6. Attempted to collect more rent than was owed.

Mr. Shapley also alleged Campbell failed to market the property. This blogger has wondered exactly what was going on with Town Centre over the years as it is vacant but for Ely's and another tenant as Mr. Shapley claims. While Town Centre has withered on the vine, nearby developments built more recently have had no problems filling up with tenants. One would think such a development in a prime location of Ridgeland would have no such problem but this has obviously not been the case as it appears Mr. Campbell built a new-fangled ghosttown in the middle of Ridgeland (Remember Odyssey?). It should also be noted Mr. Campbell's address is listed in the Virgin Islands.

What is interesting in this case is the plaintiff apparently claims he reserved the right to "discover" any changes in square footage and then demand payment of rent for the "new" space from the inception of the lease. One can not imagine any tenant agreeing to such a clause as it is open-ended and not reasonable by any interpretation of the word. Mr. Shapley could theoretically be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars if our carpetbagger "discovered" an error in the measurement of the leased space ten years later and then demanded his tenant pay him for the "extra" space. One would think the error in calculating square feet would lie with Mr. Campbell as he was the one who had the property surveyed. It hardly seems fair to make a tenant pay for mistakes made by his surveyor nearly two years after the fact. However, that is why we have a court and that is where these things are decided.

Stay tuned.


Epicurian Aequitas said...

It's a testament to the quality of the food and service at Ely's that it has thrived for two years despite the landlord.

The beautiful thing is that the suit was filed by Mr. Shapley's uncle, Chris Shapley. If there's one lawyer I don't want opposite me, it's him.

All this talk about Ely's has me craving a filet. I think I'll make a reservation for early next week. Thanks, KF.

Kingfish said...

Its a BS lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Which one?

Kingfish said...

The one by the landlord. Nice trick, resurvey and discover its nearly 300 ft larger than you originally told the tenant when you negotiated the lease and then demand back rent for nearly two years for the difference. Its very sleazy.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Good job - Kingfish!
It is reassuring that you are there to report on sleazy and bad faith tactics made by Carpetbaggers seaking to exploit GoZone benefits!
Shame on Jackson Street Property Management and John F. Campbell.

Anonymous said...

what a piece of shit of a landlord.... who would want to rent from someone like that?

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder how other tenants of Mr Campbell are treated.

Anonymous said...

This guy seriously claims he didn't know how big HIS OWN property was when he rented it out? And that is the tenant's fault?

Who said it's 99% of lawyers who give the rest a bad name? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Fer cryin' out loud, what an load of bullcookies.

Kingfish said...

His blog hasn't been up for several days. Don't know what is going on.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for all the trashing and personal attacking!

Kingfish said...

People are allowed to have an opinion. If I think its sleazy tactics I can say its sleazy tactics. Readers can read both lawsuits for themselves and post an opinion. Its called free speech and freedom of thought. You should try it some time

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