April 23, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
51°F
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Midway Mall sues cinema for $52K in back rent

ELYRIA — The owners of Midway Mall are suing the Midway Cinema 8 for failing to pay $52,500 in back rent.

The lawsuit accuses the movie theater’s owners of failing to live up to the terms of a 2003 contract that requires rent of $17,500 a month.

According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in county Common Pleas Court, Florida-based Midway Theater Co. hasn’t made a payment in three months.

The movie theater remains in operation, and manager Roy Fiedler said he knew nothing about the lawsuit.
John Hickson, an employee at the company’s Florida offices, said only that the company is negotiating with the mall’s owners and has been contemplating moving the theater from its current location in an outbuilding to the mall proper, but could provide no other details.

Alan DiGirolamo, the attorney for mall owner Centro Watt, said he couldn’t comment on why the movie theater wasn’t making its rent payments, which total $210,000 a year, plus a percentage of the profits.

“We’re always hopeful to resolve it,” DiGirolamo said.

A Centro Watt spokeswoman said it is a landlord-tenant dispute, and the company hopes to get it resolved. She said Centro Watt has no plans to evict the theater because of the dispute. The lawsuit doesn’t ask that the movie theater be closed, only that all rent owed on the contract be paid.

Midway Mall has struggled recently, seeing the departure of Dillard’s and the possibility that the JCPenney store may close when a new one opens in Avon. Elyria Mayor Bill Grace also has publicly worried that a new interchange that recently was approved to be built off Interstate 90 in Avon could further harm the mall’s future.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.