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St. Paul officials agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a lease dispute with the owners of a cafe at the Como Lakeside Pavilion.

St. Paul agrees to settle cafe lease dispute

St. Paul officials have agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a lease dispute with the owners of a cafe at the Como Lakeside Pavilion.

The deal, approved Aug. 27, was made to avoid going to trial for damages and is third-largest in city history.

Black Bear Crossings on the Lake has operated at the pavilion since April 2000. Owners David and Pamela Glass filed a civil lawsuit last year when the parks department declined to extend their five-year lease, despite a five-year renewal option written in the contract.

At the time, city officials accused the company of sloppy bookkeeping and late lease payments and said the coffee shop was not drawing enough business to fulfill its public purpose.

In May, a Ramsey County District Court judge ruled the city failed to present evidence justifying its decision to breach its management agreement with the vendor.

Marek said the city did not have to continue to lease the pavilion to David and Pamela Glass, who were nevertheless allowed to sue for damages. The couple recently added a defamation claim to their suit alleging that the city’s public criticisms had damaged their company and its reputation.

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