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Lawsuits suggest historic Salt Lake City mall in financial distress

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8 2012 2:49 p.m. MST

An exterior view of a portion of Trolley Square in 2005. Two lawsuits filed against the owners of Trolley Square suggest the historic retail shopping and entertainment center is in financial distress.

Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Two lawsuits filed against the owners of Trolley Square suggest the historic retail shopping and entertainment center is in financial distress.

A lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court this month by Bank of America claims that property owner Trolley Square Associates defaulted on a loan and owes more than $57.6 million plus interest and fees. The suit states that Trolley Square has failed to act in accordance with loan documents and turn over income generated by the shopping center once the loan went into default.

Bank of America officials are asking the court to appoint a receiver to run the mall to secure and collect rents from tenants.

Another lawsuit, filed in 3rd District Court in September by maintenance and engineering firm Sentinel Building Services, accuses Trolley Square Associates, management company Unico Properties and senior property manager Dawn Katter of failing to correct several building, fire, health and safety code issues at the property.

In spring 2012, Sentinel stated that it brought the safety issues to the attention of Katter and demanded that the conditions be corrected. In doing so, explaining the seriousness of the violations with regard to building codes, Occupational Safety and Heath Administration regulations and safety codes designed to protect the public.

The suit alleges that Katter refused the request, acting on behalf Trolley Square and Unico. Thereafter, Trolley Square's owners and management conspired to avoid spending the money to make the repairs necessary to bring the mall into compliance with building, health, fire and safety codes, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit further alleges that in furtherance of the conspiracy, the ownership and management wrongfully terminated the maintenance contract with Sentinel. The lawsuit seeks general and punitive damages.

Calls to ScanlanKemperBard, the Portland, Ore.-based owner of Trolley Square Associates, were not returned.

Longtime Trolley Square merchant John Cottam, owner of the The Spectacle custom eyeglass shop, said news of the alleged financial problems were troubling.

"It's very scary. I'm very concerned about it," Cottam said.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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