December 19, 2017

Centerplan Construction sued for falling behind on Middletown rent payments

PHOTO | Steve Laschever
PHOTO | Steve Laschever
Robert A. Landino, founder/CEO, Centerplan Cos., Middletown.

Centerplan Construction Cos., the original developer of Dunkin' Donuts Park that was fired from the project by the city of Hartford after falling behind on the development schedule and going over budget, is being sued for failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars in back rent on its former Middletown headquarters and ignoring a Nov. 24 eviction notice, court records show.

Centerplan owes a monthly $12,920 base rent -- on its former Middletown second-floor office at 10 Main St. -- that has gone unpaid since Sept. 1, 2016, according to a civil suit filed Dec. 15 in Superior Court's Middletown Housing Court.

The current landlord, Elmsford, N.Y., based MK-Menlo II, acquired the building at 10 Main St. in 2014. Centerplan's 10-year lease for about 9,650 square feet was originally signed in 2013.

It is unclear exactly how much in back rent Centerplan allegedly owes, but the suit says the company still occupies the space even though an eviction was scheduled for late November.

Centerplan's attorney, Jeffrey M. Donofrio of Ciulla & D'Onofrio LLP of North Haven, said Tuesday that Centerplan relocated its office to 250 Sackett Point Road in North Haven, "sometime between September and November of 2016."

"That (Middletown) space has been vacated, but in order to terminate the lease the landlord brought an eviction action, which under Connecticut law formally terminates the lease," D'Onofrio said. "We're working with them."

Hartford lawyer Robert E. Kaelin, who represents MK-Menlo II, the Middletown landlord, said "We're working to resolve the eviction action." He did not comment further about the back rent allegations.

On Tuesday, a receptionist at Centerplan referred a reporter's call for CEO Robert Landino to voicemail. Landino did not return a call seeking comment.

MK-Menlo II also is also trying to evict Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, which, according to the complaint, sub-leases office space from Centerplan. On Tuesday, Greenskies announced it has been purchased by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Clean Focus Yield Limited, a group of renewable-energy companies.

Greenskies has been out of the office at 10 Main Street since February of 2017, a spokesperson said.

Centerplan has been mired in legal troubles since it was fired from the Dunkin' Donuts Park project in 2016. It has been sued by subcontractors that worked on the project as well as the insurance company that guaranteed the project's completion. Centerplan also sued the city of Hartford for wrongful termination.

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