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Embassy’s food and beverage company contests eviction notice

Jenifer Ragland

Attorneys for the food and beverage company inside Embassy Suites Resort are contesting a recent eviction notice filed by the owners of the hotel, saying the action was procedurally deficient.

A hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. in El Dorado County Municipal Court.

George Echan, attorney for TurZak, Inc., said the eviction notice was not written or filed in accordance with unlawful detainer statutes, and claimed TurZak was not properly notified prior to the filing.

Koar-Tahoe Partners, L.P., owners of the state line-area property, last month issued TurZak a notice of cancellation on its 10-year lease, claiming the concessionaire was not meeting standards of quality.

Richard Glasson, Koar’s attorney in the matter, was not available for comment Wednesday.

Serving the eviction papers is the next legal step in an attempted lease cancellation, Echan said. If they are held up in court, a new trial date would be set to determine whether TurZak is entitled to the premises for the remainder of the lease and the optional five-year extension.

TurZak has operated Zachary’s restaurant, Turtles Sports Bar, Pasquale’s Brick Oven Pizza, Julie’s Deli & Gift shop, room service and wedding services at the state line-area resort since it opened in December 1991.

Echan said he doesn’t understand how TurZak could be performing below standards when it is an award-winning Embassy Suites food and beverage company that has been a respected South Shore business for more than 10 years.

Koar is in the process of trying to convert 188 suites in the 400-room hotel to time-share units, in an attempt to reduce its outstanding loan payment and avoid bankruptcy. The company is seeking approval from the South Lake Tahoe City Council to lift the five-year ban on such conversions passed in 1996.

“What I think is that TurZak, and to a greater extent the city, are now caught in the jet wash of Koar’s financial problems,” Echan said. “To a great degree, both the city and TurZak are somewhat hostage to Koar’s reorganization strategy.”

He said Koar officials had previously told TurZak they would have to take over portions of the meeting rooms and restaurant – currently part of TurZak’s leasehold interest -in order to make a time-share conversion work.

TurZak officials are not strictly opposed to the notion of time shares and were willing to work with Koar, but never heard back from them in connection with a settlement to that end, Echan said.

“I think what has happened with Koar’s financial situation puts a clarifying light on the reason they need TurZak out,” he said. “It seems odd to allege now that the operation has all of sudden become schlokey.”

A separate lawsuit filed in April by TurZak seeks more than $1 million in damages from Koar-Tahoe Partners and Embassy Suites. The complaint alleges Koar and Embassy breached the lease contract in such a way that made it impossible for TurZak to run its once-lucrative wedding business.

That matter is still pending in Superior Court, with a trial date set for May 1998, Echan said.


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