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Gerdt Furniture owners embroiled in $4M court fight

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A family dispute involving the owners of Gerdt Furniture & Interiors Inc. has led to a lawsuit accusing them of owing nearly $4 million in unpaid rent and loans.

Landlord George Gerdt is suing his younger brother, John, and John's wife, Cheryl, in addition to the retail business they operate, in Marion Superior Court.

The lawsuit follows the announced closing in December of the flagship Gerdt Furniture store in Southport, ending a 54-year run for the business. Commercials airing on local television stations say the store is in its final days of a closeout sale, but a salesperson answering the phone at the store said it would be open at least through March.

A Gerdt store in Castleton that opened in 1986 was closed late last year. Gerdt also opened a store along U.S. 36 in Avon in 2006, but closed it in 2009.

According to his complaint, George Gerdt owns the two buildings that housed the furniture stores in Southport and Castleton. He claims Gerdt Furniture & Interiors owes $870,000 in unpaid rent at the Southport location and $580,000 in unpaid rent at the Castleton location.

George Gerdt also says Gerdt Furniture & Interiors defaulted on a $2 million note and owes $408,579 on another loan.

In addition, he accuses John Gerdt of withholding collateral for the two notes, including proceeds from recent “going out of business” sales, the lawsuit says.

Reached by phone, Cheryl Gerdt declined to discuss the lawsuit, saying it’s “a family matter.”

Lynette Gray, a Franklin attorney representing George Gerdt, who resides in Florida, didn't return calls from IBJ seeking comment.

Edward Gerdt, the father of George and John, opened his original Southport store in 1959 after saving enough money to realize his dream of operating his own business. He had been a detective for the city of Indianapolis. The business moved to a bigger Southport store in 1992.

In a statement announcing the closure of the business in December, John Gerdt said, “Gerdt Furniture is a part of the history in Indianapolis and we have loved being a part of so many families’ lives. But there comes a time to move on, and [Cheryl] and I have decided to retire while we can still offer our customers the quality merchandise and service we are known for.”

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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