The owners of Dream Hall in downtown Elgin filed a lawsuit to evict one of their tenants, Elgin Area Taproom, whose owner said he stopped paying rent because the terms of his lease are not being met.
Kevin Echevarria, owner of Dream Hall at 51 S. Grove Ave., and Tyrrell Tomlin, owner of the Taproom on the building's first floor, said they hope to resolve their disagreement soon.
Dream Hall filed the eviction lawsuit Sept. 17 in Kane County court against Elgin Area Table, LLC, stating the business owed at least $10,673 in back rent through Aug. 1, plus any rent accrued since then. The lawsuit also states the Taproom has $1 million liquor liability insurance, when the lease requires a $2 million limit.
Echevarria said Tomlin hasn't paid any rent -- the lease calls for 25 percent of gross revenues -- since the Taproom opened in May.
Tomlin said he hasn't paid rent because he expected to book his own events at Dream Hall and have greater use of the space inside.
Tomlin's attorney, Jeffrey Meyer of Sycamore, said his client has been working with an insurance agent to find an insurer that offers the higher limit.
"The court has been giving us additional time to do that," Meyer said. "The allegations in the underlying suit are denied, and if the suit moves forward, Elgin Area Table will be filing a countersuit and defense."
The Taproom's lease, dated Jan. 25, states the Taproom has exclusive use of the first floor bar area, has square footage including the mezzanine bar for private parties and events, and can serve private and pop-up events in the basement.
Since then, Legit Dogs & Ice opened in March in the basement and Cafe Revive opened in July in the mezzanine, which Tomlin said cuts down space for Taproom events. "That's not what I expected," he said, adding the cafe is competition for his business because he had planned to serve coffee and kombucha tea.
Echevarria said the concept and business plan always was for Dream Hall, not the Taproom, to book events throughout the building with service provided by the Taproom. "(Tomlin) was never in the event business. We were in the event business, and he was in the business of serving alcohol and beverages," Echevarria said. "He was OK with everything until the moment came for him to pay rent."
Tomlin said he thinks he can withhold rent because Echevarria owes him money from a more than $20,000 loan he gave Echevarria to help lease Dream Hall last year. Echevarria said he made payments on the loan until Tomlin stopped paying rent.
Tomlin added he paid the $8,500 security deposit required by the lease; Echevarria said that happened only after he gave Tomlin a five-day notice in August.
"(Dream Hall) waited a very long time to do this hoping that we were able to negotiate a resolution," Echevarria said.
Taproom manager Jamie Berry said she and Tomlin hope to move soon into a bigger space in Elgin. "What it comes down to is a disagreement about the lease," Berry said. "Generally we are doing our due diligence to operate the business."
The parties are due in court Tuesday on a temporary restraining order filed by Dream Hall, and are due in court Oct. 23 for the eviction lawsuit.
Echevarria applied for a liquor license for Dream Hall, but the city's liquor control commission tabled the matter Wednesday until after the lawsuit is resolved.