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Landlord seeking to evict Jillian's over unpaid rent

April 15, 2011

The landlord for the Jillian’s restaurant and entertainment complex in downtown Indianapolis wants to be removed from the company's bankruptcy filing so it continue with its attempt to evict the tenant.

Locally based FB&F Entertainment LLC, which operates Jillian’s at 141 S. Meridian St. in downtown Indianapolis, plans to reorganize under the protection of Chapter 11.

In its Tuesday filing, the locally based company lists $2.2 million in debt, including $331,262 in rent and other payments owned to SMC Retail LLC.

Todd Maurer, the registered agent for the landlord, co-owns Newmark Knight Frank Halakar, a local commercial real estate firm. He is the son of Michael S. Maurer, who co-owns IBJ Media.

Maurer’s motion, filed Friday morning in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis, claims SMC is actually owed a total of $697,237.25. Monthly rent is $52,000.

Monthly rent has not been paid since June 2010, Maurer alleges, prompting SMC to file suit in February against FB&F in Marion Superior Court for failure to pay. SMC subsequently terminated Jillian’s lease on March 15.

“Our argument is, we’ve already terminated the lease, so we don’t need to discuss it in bankruptcy court,” Maurer said. “We want the Superior Court judge to say, 'You’re in a place you don’t belong, so get out.’”

FB&F still could conceivably pay its debt and remain in the building, though the two sides remain divided on how much is actually owed.

“It’s true that Jillian’s owes them a significant amount of money, but it’s not anywhere near what they claim, said James Knauer, attorney for FB&F.

Knauer claims FB&F has been mistakenly charged homeowners association fees and double-billed for certain taxes.

Maurer said the homeowner’s fees are just a small part of the overall debt and total less than $100,000.

Maurer’s commercial real estate firm developed Six Over Meridian, a condominium project in the same building as Jillian’s.

“We gave [FB&F] many opportunities to try to cure this default,” Maurer said. “I think that’s evident by how much money we’re owed.”

The local Jillian’s opened in 1998 and was part of a rush of restaurants that arrived downtown following the opening of Circle Centre. The multi-story venue occupies roughly 52,800 square feet of space and features a restaurant and sports bar on the ground floor and a pool hall, arcade and bowling alley on the upper floors.

The business is operated by Craig Kastle and David Wallace, and is separate from 11 other Jillian’s restaurants operated by Greg Stevens in Louisville. The three have at least 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, according to the FB&F website.

The restaurant chain first encountered financial troubles in 2004, when the former Jillian’s Entertainment Holdings Inc., also in Louisville, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s Inc. bought the nine largest units of Jillian’s for $27.5 million. Separately, Gemini Investors III, a Boston investment company, agreed to pay $10.9 million for 19 other Jillian’s, leaving what was then a 35-unit chain with seven remaining locations up for grabs.
   
 

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