Downing disputes downtown eviction


By Ashley Bunton - abunton@aimmediamidwest.com



More information has been released in a recent court hearing over a building located at 120 N. Fayette St. in Washington C.H.

The Record-Herald reported June 23 that Melissa Downing, owner of The Olde Rustic Willow business, was evicted from the building at 120 N. Fayette Street, by the building’s owner, Michael Phillips.

According to the Fayette County Auditor’s Office, the owner of the building at 120 N. Fayette St. is currently Merrill Kaufman.

Court records allege Phillips leased the building to Downing.

Downing stated to the Record-Herald that she was not evicted from the building at North Fayette Street.

According to the Washington Court House Municipal Court records, Phillips served Downing with a three-day notice May 5 to pay rent or leave the premises May 8.

Downing stated to the Record-Herald that she attempted to pay Phillips the rent May 5 but that he was no longer interested in continuing the lease agreement.

Downing did not leave the premises. According to an audio recording of a hearing May 30, Phillips and Downing agreed that Downing would vacate the North Fayette Street building on or before June 10.

Judge Victor Pontious presided over the hearing and said assessment for any damages that may have been incurred to the building was ordered to be continued to another time.

“This case is in two parts,” said Pontious. “The first part is the possession of the property so that is all I am dealing with today.”

Downing and Phillips agreed that Phillips was entitled to possession of the property.

Judge Pontious did not order any payment for damages and told both parties that once Phillips was in possession of the building, he would have to ask for another hearing to discuss any potential damage claims.

Downing stated that she had not wanted to pay rent due to some maintenance concerns that she claimed needed to be fixed before she could pay rent. Judge Pontious told Downing that she could file a counterclaim in that case and address those concerns at a later time.

According to both Phillips and Downing, Downing was moved out of the North Fayette Street building June 10 and returned the key to the building.

Downing moved her business to 137 Court St. and is working toward an opening July 8.

According to the auditor’s records, Merrill Kaufman’s trustees own the building at 137 Court St.

As of this report, the Record-Herald is not aware of any counterclaims or requests for hearings that have been filed over the North Fayette Street building.

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By Ashley Bunton

abunton@aimmediamidwest.com

Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton

Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton

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