O'Fallon property owner sues AT&T and New Cingular over lease payment issue

Kelly Holleran Aug. 29, 2011, 2:00am

The owner of a piece of O'Fallon property alleges its tenants improperly reneged on a lease agreement, causing it to lose thousands of dollars.

Ekstasis filed a lawsuit Aug. 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against New Cingular Wireless and AT&T Mobility Corporation.

In its complaint, Ekstasis alleges it entered into a lease agreement with the defendants on Dec. 9, 2009. Contained in the lease agreement were construction drawings that included the locations of antenna in the leased premises, according to the complaint.

Initially, the defendants approved of the construction drawings, but changed the use of the cellular antenna in December 2010 by removing three of the five internal antenna locations, the suit states. In doing so, the defendants reduced the plaintiff's potential future income, the complaint says.

On Feb. 2, Ekstasis received the revised construction drawings, which indicated that the defendants were not using the three internal antenna without compensating Ekstasis, it claims.

Because the defendants would not be using the three antenna, Ekstasis rejected the revised construction drawings, according to the complaint.

Ekstasis then proposed a new rent rate that would make up for the missing income from the three antenna that would not be in use, the suit states. However, the defendants terminated their lease and said they would not renew it unless Ekstasis approved the construction drawings without raising rent, the complaint says.

The plaintiff and defendants subsequently held a meeting to discuss the issues regarding the lease, and the defendants agreed to pay an extra $500 per month in rent, the complaint states. However, Ekstasis would not consent to the deal.

"This lease modification contingency was unreasonable and had nothing to do with the construction drawings and such modifications were not required for the plaintiff to accept by the terms of the lease," the suit states.

According to the complaint, the defendants decided to terminate their lease with Ekstasis.

In terminating the lease, the defendants failed to abide by lease agreements that state they must make rent payments for the initial full five-year lease term, according to the complaint. In addition, they failed to engage in reasonable negotiations with the defendants and failed to provide accurate termination reasons, the suit states.

In its two-count complaint, Ekstasis seeks a sum of more than $110,000 for breach of contract, actual damages of more than $50,000 and punitive damages of more than $50,000, plus attorneys' fees and costs.

Bernard J. Ysursa of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Belleville will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-443.

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