NEW ULM - The two major ownership entities of the Martkplatz Mall have two important date coming up that deal with the lawsuit between them and preventing a shutoff of their utilities.
New Ulm Retail and Development, LLC. (NURD), which owns the northern two thirds of the mall, and Randy Danielson through his SEK Financial, LLC., which owns the southern portion of the mall, are currently engaged in a lawsuit in Brown County. Danielson is also the owner of the first mortgage on the northern half of the mall.
NURD (which has no connection with the New Ulm Retail Development Corporation) has accused Danielson of absconding with the rents he collected through his Assignment of Rents and of failing to maintain the mall.
Danielson has counter claimed that NURD has periodically tricked tenants into sending them rental payments without account for them. He also accused NURD of pursuing several litigation sources to intimidate him into selling his portion of the mall at their asking price.
The only significant action in the lawsuit was in March when NURD's request for a temporary restraining order that would prevent Danielson from being able to foreclose on the mortgage, which is in default, and from being able to collect rental payments on NURD's portion of the mall. The protections are similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy NURD filed in the last months of 2011. NURD's court filings stated the filing was to gain the bankruptcy protections to avoid having the mall utilities shut off and a potential foreclosure on the first mortgage by Danielson. The bankruptcy was dismissed in mid-March when the court determined the issue was only a two-party dispute over the property.
The Brown County court shot down the request for a restraining order on March 30, stating that if Danielson initiates a foreclosures, NURD would have plenty of time to file actions in response. The court also noted that NURD's request would prejudice the case against Danielson.
No other action has been taken on the Brown County since, but state law requires a Informational Statement be filed within 60 days of motion. A Informational Statement, roughly speaking, is a generalized schedule when the involved parties plan to file various actions in the case.
Since neither NURD nor Danielson have filed anything, the Court filed on July 5 that they have until July 15 to file or face sanctions by the court. Both sides said they weren't aware of the deadline when asked Friday, so both side abstained from commenting on whether they would file or offer motions to dismiss the case.
In other Marktplatz Mall business, the City of New Ulm has sent a new notice that it will shut off utilities to the mall if it doesn't receive the $2,947 in due utility payments by July 17.
A similar confrontation in June between NURD and the City over unpaid utilities. NURD claimed to have made an arrangement with the City to deal with both newly owed bills and several prior months of utility bills. The City claims NURD never finalized an agreement with them and continued with non-payment. NURD stated during the dispute it would be willing to let the mall go dark over the disagreement. The bill on NURD's portion was ultimately paid by Danielson. A similar situation had also occurred in May.
If utilities are shut off to the mall, City and state building codes require that people are not allowed in the building for business matters. All the stores in the mall would consequently be shut down.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org