As Gut Check first reported Monday evening, the acclaimed Central West End restaurant Salt (4356 Lindell Boulevard, 314-932-5787) is embroiled in a legal dispute with the owner of its building, Ta Daa LLC. On August 20 of this year, Ta Daa sued Salt's parent company, American Larder LLC, in civil court in the City of St. Louis for unlawful detainer -- basically, occupying the premises without any legal right to do so.
According to the suit, Ta Daa served American Larder a notice of default on July 18. On August 6 Ta Daa terminated the restaurant's lease. On August 13 Ta Daa served American Larder notice to vacate the premises by August 14.
However, again according to Ta Daa's own suit, American Larder made two payments to Ta Daa totaling $51,025.97. Ta Daa received these payments on August 9 and 14 -- after terminating American Larder's lease but before filing its suit.
This morning Gut Check spoke with attorney C. Scott Brinkman of Brinkman & Alter LLC, who is representing American Larder. Brinkman tells us that he will file a formal answer to Ta Daa's suit next week.
In the meantime, he offered us more details about the circumstances surrounding the dispute.
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"The company that owns the building, which is Ta Daa LLC, believes that my client had fallen behind on their rent and filed an unlawful detainer action," Brinkman says. "But the problem with that is, obviously, we don't believe that was the case, and [we] had insisted upon that before they filed an unlawful detainer."
"It's very minimal and bare-bones," Brinkman says of Ta Daa's suit. "There's a lot of stuff that was left out."
One of the most significant pieces of information absent from the suit, Brinkman explains, is the origin of the $51,025.97 figure that American Larder paid.
"That was not calculated by [Ta Daa]," Brinkman explains. "That was calculated by us."
Brinkman says American Larder asked Ta Daa for an accounting of how much rent or how many months of rent they owed, and then based its calculation on "the bare amount of information [Ta Daa] gave."