The Minnesota Republican Party has been served eviction papers for its St. Paul office.
Boston-based Hub Properties filed an eviction notice in Ramsey County District Court last week because the party is $96,000 behind in rent.
“Landlord seeks to have Tenant evicted,” the court notice said. “Because Tenant is still in possession of the Leased Premises and has failed to pay rent. Landlord further seeks to terminate any right of possession Tenant may claim.”
Politics in Minnesota first reported the news about the eviction notice.
Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge told MPR News that he’s disappointed the landlord filed the eviction notice because the party is trying to work out a deal with its creditors. He said he doesn’t think the Republican Party will actually be booted from its offices.
“Our landlord took the step of filing some court papers,” Shortridge said. “They’re certainly within their rights. I don’t agree with their decision because I think we’ve making some progress on figuring this out. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not going to get evicted. We’re not going to have any long-term issues. I think we’re going to get this solved.”
Shortridge says the news will be a minor problem for fundraising, but he said the party has been slowly erasing its debt.
Shortridge was elected party chair in December after Tony Sutton stepped down after receiving heavy criticism that he wasn’t fully disclosing the party’s finances (MPR examined the party’s spending decisions under Sutton in this story). The party is working with the Federal Election Commission and the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board to ensure that any violations are handled properly.
Shortridge also sent this letter to Republican Party activists last week detailing some of their plans to straighten out the party’s finances:
In light of recent press stories, I wanted to give you an update on where we are in the process of straightening out the Party’s finances. Here’s what we’ve done:
* First and foremost, we’ve amended our Federal Election Commission (2011) and Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board reports for 2011 and 2010.
* The Financial Control and Oversight Committee, chaired very, very ably by Jeff Johnson, has looked into many of the questionable transactions from the past and will present a series of recommendations to significantly improve our processes, internal financial controls and oversight.
* We’ve continued to cut expenses, while continuing the process of restoring trust with our major donors and rebuilding our small dollar donor programs. Fundraising is improving and we’re getting things done on a shoestring. You should be VERY proud of the party staff and our many key volunteers for going above and beyond the call to get things done.
* We have negotiated with our creditors so we engage in an orderly process for paying down our debt. In 95% of the cases, that process has gone smoothly. In a couple of cases, it has not gone as well as we’d hoped despite the best efforts of Mike Vekich, Bron Scherer, and me. One in particular that I wanted to tell you about is our negotiation with our landlord.
We have a long and very expensive lease which still has twenty-one (21) months to run. As you know, we have more space than we need and our monthly lease cost is in excess of current, comparable market lease rates. When I was elected on December 31, 2011, the rent had not been paid since August 2011 and as part of our continuing financial issues and our effort to re-negotiate the lease, no lease payments have been made in 2012 to date.
Rather than continue discussions with us, the landlord chose to exercise its rights and filed a notice of eviction in Ramsey County court. We’re not going to be evicted, and at the same time, are continuing to negotiate on the back payments as well as on a lease that better fits both our space needs and our budget.
While this is a situation none of us wants, it’s part of the rebuilding process. No one ever said it would be simple or easy or without bumps along the way. But I wanted you to hear about it from me rather than from any other source.
* The bottom line: We’re in better shape than we were three months ago, but not as good as we’ll be three months from now. It’s a daily process that requires hard work and common purpose.
Please let me know if you have additional thoughts or questions. I’ll see you in St Cloud, if not before.
Pat Shortridge, Chairman
Republican Party of Minnesota
UPDATE: Here’s the first four pages of the eviction notice: