Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Feb. 24, 2015, 7:11am

The owners of an Edwardsville wine store have denied allegations against it in a lawsuit claiming they failed to pay rent.

Jones-Edwardsville Properties (JEP) filed the Sept. 12 lawsuit against Crushed Grapes Ltd., Leonard J. Scaturro and Arlene I. Scaturro.

According to the lawsuit, the Scaturros and Crushed Grapes agreed to a lease contract with JEP in October 1999. A recent renewal signed in November 2011 extended the contract to October 2016, with a monthly payment of more than $2,300.

JEP alleges the Scaturros and their company failed to pay any monthly payments under the most recent lease agreement. The defendants allegedly vacated the building in April at which time they owed nearly $50,000 in past due rent and fees, the suit claims. JEP also contends the Scaturros are responsible for paying rent due for the remainder of contract, bringing the total owed to more than $118,000.

The defendants are accused of breach of contract.

The defendants answered the complaint Nov. 17 denying the allegations. Instead, they claim the plaintiff failed to mitigate damages, which should bar recovery.

Then on Nov. 20 the plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment, claiming it took the defendants more time than what was appropriate to respond to the suit.

JEP asks to be awarded a judgment for the remaining balance of the rental agreement plus interest and costs of the lawsuit.

Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder scheduled a case management conference for Feb. 25 at 9 a.m.

Julie C. Elliot of Williams, Caponi & Associates in Belleville represents the defendants.

James M. Kreitler of Hillsboro, Mo., represents the real estate company.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-1253

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