Business Monday: Casa Tua, landlord in sealed eviction flap
When Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse tangled with its landlord in an eviction dispute in 2009, the battle played out publicly in court.
Another eviction dispute is playing out over the same location — the old Guido’s Swiss Inn in downtown Aspen — but this time the court is a sealed vault.
Courts in Colorado now are required, under a new law that took effect Dec. 1, to suppress eviction proceedings. Eviction cases in Colorado are closed to the public “until an order is entered granting the plaintiff (landlord) possession of the premises,” states House Bill 20-1009.
The case of Guido’s Swiss Inn LLC against Casa Tua is an example of that. Last week, the landlord Guido’s filed what’s called a forcible entry and detainer, or eviction action, against the high-end Italian restaurant that also includes a membership club that opened in December 2010. There are Casa Tua locations also in Miami and Paris.
The case is sealed to the public as well as another suit Casa Tua filed in late March against the owner of the building at 403 S. Galena St.
Glenwood lawyer Neil Goluba, listed in corporate filings as the registered agent for Guido’s Swiss Inn, declined to comment on the matter when contacted last week.
However, Chris Bryan, counsel for Casa Tua, offered a statement confirming the dispute.
“Casa Tua Aspen, LLC filed a civil action against its landlord Guido’s Swiss Inn LLC in Pitkin County District Court on March 31, 2021,” the statement said. “In retaliation, Guido’s is now apparently attempting to evict Casa Tua, a beloved member of the Aspen community. It is disappointing that this commercial property owner is attempting to profiteer off a pandemic. We look forward to addressing the legal issues in court.”
Casa Tua was open and serving diners over the weekend.
“Rustic, yet impossibly elegant, Casa Tua Aspen is another product of the ingenious partnership between Italian architect Michele Bonan, and owners Miky and Leticia Grendene,” its website says.
Casa Tua Aspen received a Paycheck Protection loan of $579,300 in April 2020, reporting that it “employed at least 74 people during the applicable loan period,” according to federal public records.
Of that amount, $116,000 was toward rent, $20,000 toward mortgage interest, $8,800 toward utilities and the bulk of it, $434,500, was for payroll.
Eviction cases remain suppressed permanently if the tenant prevails in the dispute. If the landlord wins, the case can be opened to the public.
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