Posted at: 09/25/2012 6:38 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
Both Sides in Art Center Lease Dispute Please with Ruling
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A messy lease dispute between the Albert Lea Art Center and it’s landlord is coming to a close. A day after an appeals court reversed a near half-million dollar decision-both sides have had to review it, and both seem satisfied.
I thought it would be a win-win,” said building owner Susanne Crane.
Crane purchased the Albert Lea Art Center building in 2005, offering a long-term lease for the Art Center. But soon after, she says, their relationship turned sour.
"Immediately after I bought the building, things began to change,” said Crane.
Court documents show Crane refused to provide the Art Center with more than one key to the building, removed property from the common hallway, and only allowed the art center to use one bathroom.
"Very silly, petty concerns and easily worked out,” said Crane.
"Those are some areas the art center believed it was entitled to use,” said Donald Savelkoul, the attorney representing the Art Center.
Another issue was who should pay utilities. A district court sided with the art center in their breech of lease case, awarding it around $7,000 in utility payments and nearly half a million dollars for the remainder of their lease.
"Yesterday I woke up owing about a half a million dollars to some people who have been very unfriendly to put it mildly and I went to bed owing zero,” said Crane.
That change happened when an appeals court said the lower court made the wrong decision. Still-both sides seem pleased.
"At first blush, it seems like it's a negative outcome and digging into the opinion over all it's good ruling,” said Savelkoul.
The ruling also gives the art center the option to move out of the building.
"The art center is in a very good spot. They can control their own destiny. They can choose where they want to be,” Savelkoul added.
And both parties say, they are ready to move on.
"Regardless of where they are, they're going to have a great future promoting the arts in the community,” said Savelkoul.
"It's pretty ridiculous, but I'll just move forward and I'll have really fantastic plans,” said Crane.
The art center says they would like to remain in the building and Crane says she is now focusing on restoring the building.