The debt-plagued Republican Party of Minnesota is getting kicked out of its party headquarters near the state Capitol.
Massachusetts-based Hub Properties Trust filed paperwork in Ramsey County on Wednesday to evict the state GOP for failing to pay more than $96,000 in rent over the last year.
“Tenant remains in default under the lease by failing to pay in full when due, rent from April 2011 through the present,” the court papers read. “As of April 1, 2012, the tenant owes landlord a total of $111,192.14.” (A security deposit on the property and several partial payments since June 2011 have reduced the total outstanding debt to about $96,000.)
The eviction action follows a series of revelations last winter regarding debts accrued by the party during the reign of former RPM Chairman Tony Sutton. In December, an internal review of finances revealed that the party owes $1.23 million to creditors, plus more than $700,000 in legal fees accrued during the 2010 gubernatorial recount, and is facing possible fines from the Federal Elections Commission for undisclosed debts. The party is also currently being investigated by the state campaign finance board.
The 10-year lease for the office space located at 525 Park St. in St. Paul — first signed in 2003 — puts the party on the hook for $6,881 a month for the 7,340 square foot space, according to records filed in Ramsey County District Court. But rent has inflated over the years, according to a PIM interview with former Chair Sutton, who resigned late last year amid rumors of ballooning debt.
In an internal party memo leaked to Politico in April, RPM Chairman Pat Shortridge, who was elected to succeed Sutton in December, revealed that the party hadn’t paid its rent for at least the first two months of the year.
“Consequently, please note that we are not paying our office lease rent payment (but have been in discussions with our landlord) and have not yet negotiated long-term payment schedules and/or negotiated settlements relating to most of the vendors,” Shortridge wrote in the memo.
Shortridge notified activists of the eviction notice in an email blast on Thursday, but claimed the party will not be put out of its space imminently.
“We have a long and very expensive lease which still has twenty-one (21) months to run. As you know, we have more space than we need and our monthly lease cost is in excess of current, comparable market lease rates. When I was elected on December 31, 2011, the rent had not been paid since August 2011 and as part of our continuing financial issues and our effort to re-negotiate the lease, no lease payments have been made in 2012 to date,” he wrote.
“Rather than continue discussions with us, the landlord chose to exercise its rights and filed a notice of eviction in Ramsey County court. We’re not going to be evicted, and at the same time, are continuing to negotiate on the back payments as well as on a lease that better fits both our space needs and our budget. While this is a situation none of us wants, it’s part of the rebuilding process. No one ever said it would be simple or easy or without bumps along the way. But I wanted you to hear about it from me rather than from any other source.”
An eviction hearing is scheduled for May 1 in Ramsey County Housing Conciliation court. Check back at PIM for updates.
Apparently the private sector evangelists can’t manage life in the private sector. The concept of the GOP as a party of “fiscal responsibility” has expanded from irony to outright farce. Let’s hope that Enron lobbyist Shortridge’s fast talk doesn’t work any better on voters wanting results than it did with a landlord who expected to be paid rent.
They should run the GOP like they would run a business. Fail. Seek a bailout. Then complain about burdensome accounting regulations that would’ve prevented them from fictionalizing their finances in the first place.
The party signed a contract for the lease, so you don’t get to complain about the cost and the excess space. Find some other tenants if you don’t need it all. Free market solution right there! You’re lucky they haven’t turfed you out already. If you were held to the same rules as ordinary citizens, your fraudulent files and scuffed-up office furniture would be out on the curb across from the Capitol.
As dipper notes above, this has gone from Irony to thigh-slapping FARCE. Who says that Orwellian Irony has to be grim & dour? The Party of “Fiscal Responsibility” that worships at the altar of the Free Market is seeing just how wonderful that is for the “little people.” There are property management companies that file Unlawful Detainer on a tenant more than 3 days late with the rent — court hearing on Day Five, and by Day 7 the tenant is ON THE STREET. Could I please have the ticket-selling franchise when their “fraudulent files and scuffed-up office furniture” goes out on the curb? I would have to hire Crowd Control!
Then add the equally savage Irony of the Party of Family Values having a sex scandal with its married top female leader, and the resultant expensive billing at State expense defending itself from its former vicious attack-dog-turned-maligned-victim — and the result is a level of Humor that usually requires the purchase of a ticket and two drinks.
Yet THIS Party thinks voters should turn over the keys to State & Federal Government to them in November? We don’t need any more encore performances!!
Yes let’s let the GOP do for the state what Tony Sutton did for his party. Put it hopelessly in debt with nothing but idiocy to show for it. Brilliant move Mr. Sutton. You are my hero.
It makes sense to me now. The Republican candidates are like NASCAR drivers, they work for their sponsors. The MN Republican party can’t financially help their candidates campaigns so they make promises to their sponsors.
Wow only $6,000 for over 7,000 sqft of space. Less than a dollar sqft in St. Paul, what an unbelievable steal from the party who knows how to steal from taxpayers.
Wow, they don’t even bother to borrow and spend anymore. They just expect handouts.
Couldn’t they just keep the rent off the books, like the did the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Because then it doesn’t count.
“…our monthly lease cost is in excess of current, comparable market lease rates.”
Oh yes, it’s the market’s fault we’re getting kicked out. We had nothing to do with it. And, oh yes, we somehow just happened to find ourselves with too much space for our needs. How did that happen? You see, it’s totally beyond our control. Maybe the Marxists and communists are behind it?
That’s funny. I thought that revenue had nothing to do with the debt equation. If they are in fiscal disarray, all they have to do is cut spending, right? Or if they purposefully take less money from their donors, that should put them in a better position, financially.