Boomtown Versus Its Tenant - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/06/04

Boomtown Versus Its Tenant

Boomtown sits on land it leases from the Skrmetta family. The Skrmetta's lawsuit, filed in 2002, challenges Boomtown's moving plans, and more specifically, the rent the casino will pay for parking once it moves.

The dispute between Boomtown and the Skrmetta's centers around the parking lot directly in front of the casino and across the street. Boomtown wants to move and still use the parking lots.

The Skrmetta's say if that happens, Boomtown should pay rent based on its gaming revenues. But Judge Walter Gex disagrees.

Boomtown's attorney, Michael Cavanaugh, says, "He said we had the right to move and use the property just for parking and not pay percentage rent but merely pay a base rent."

Boomtown pays half a million dollars a year in parking rent now. It plans to move to the site that was once the old Del Seaway factory. 

"Mr. Skrmetta's problem is he doesn't want the barge to move to a different site because if the barge moves to a different site we're not obligated to pay him percentage rent on gaming revenue," Cavanaugh says.  

But the Skrmetta's attorney says that violates the lease between his client and Boomtown. 

"If they do move over without paying rent based on gaming revenues, it would be a default of the lease. Of course they propose to simply keep the property captive to be used as a parking lot and entertainment structure and we don't think the lease provides that. It provides if you're going to use it for parking and enterainment structure you must have gaming on the property," says Harry Allen.

Allen filed a motion asking Judge Walter Gex to reconsider his ruling. Allen says if that is unsuccessful, he will take the lease dispute to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

byMarcia Hill

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