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Apr. 14—A federal lawsuit filed recently against 89th District Representative Robert Goforth was one that came after circuit cases in Jackson and Clay counties were nearing resolution.
Though not related to Goforth's role as a state representative for Jackson and parts of Madison and Laurel counties, it does affect him as a property owner who claims that a Wisconsin company failed to meet their lease agreement.
Goforth filed lawsuits against Wisconsin owned companies MANPS, LLC and MCKPS, LLC in February of this year, claiming that the companies had breached their leases with him as property owner of two buildings — one in Jackson County and one in Clay County.
Brian Sergent of Madden Sergent PLLC in Manchester said there were currently two eviction notices filed against the two companies for failure to pay the terms outlined in a lease agreement with Goforth.
"The circuit civil cases are remarkably similar to the federal lawsuit just filed by the Wisconsin companies, only we filed a forcible detainer nearly a year ago," Sergent said. "Those cases are now before the circuit court in Jackson and Clay counties."
Sergent said Goforth was simply a property owner with a lease in place outlining the expectations of the companies. But the failure of the two companies to pay the outlined fees and costs in the lease agreement prompted the civil lawsuits.
The lawsuit filed in Clay Circuit Court states:
"The Defendant, MANPS, LLC, has failed to pay/reimburse insurance fees and property taxes for at least 30 days and has been requested to vacate the premises," the lawsuit states. The lease agreement attached to that lawsuit states that the lease extended for five years, beginning on Oct. 1, 2016. MANPS, LLC was responsible to pay $2,400 per month $28,800 per year for use of the property on the first day of each month. Late fees of 1.5% would accumulate monthly should those fees not be paid by the agreed date. MANPS also agreed in the lease to pay all utilities including water, sewer, electricity, garbage removal, gas and telephone. MANPS was also required to maintain insurance of at least $1 million for any person killed or injured on that property, $1.5 million for any one accident and $500,000 for property damage. The lease agreement also states that MANPS would pay "all general real estate taxes and special assessments assessed to the leased premises during the term of this lease or any lease extension. Such taxes shall be paid before they are delinquent and become charged against the premises therein."
In return, Goforth as the property owner would maintain the exterior of the building or other repairs not caused by the leasees.
Sergent said the federal lawsuit was inaccurate in its claims, especially since Goforth does not operate any pharmacies in either Clay or Jackson counties. The lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin company charges Goforth with enticing one of their former employees to utilize Goforth owned pharmacies. But Sergent said that the operator of the two pharmacies sold his business in Jackson County to Walgreens and closed his Manchester pharmacy.
"There was no bad actions by Robert (Goforth)," Sergent said. "He just wanted to enforce the lease and that's where the situation of the federal lawsuit rose."'
The lawsuit and lease agreement filed in Jackson Circuit Court could not be obtained for publication, although copies of those documents were requested by The Sentinel-Echo.