The two leading roles in the ongoing drama between a local theater building and the players who used to be in the spotlight is entering another act.
Christopher Lee, trustee of the J.M. Boal Real Estate Trust, which owns the Boal Barn Playhouse, filed suit against State College Community Theatre Inc., in May, claiming the theater company owed the trust $23,145 for breach of contract in defaulting on the terms of its lease, including $18,480 for repairs that would make the playhouse more functional for producing live shows.
On June 27, SCCT responded.
According to SCCT’s filing, the building is not permitted to house the 200-person audience plus 50 cast and crew members required to stage a production. The group claimed that Centre Region Code Authority issued a report July 18, 2013, that said the Boal Barn could not be used by more than 49 people at a time.
Making changes to fix that was why Lee said the more than $37,000 in work was being done to the structure, a move that, he said, in the lease required SCCT to split the cost.
But the SCCT filing said the group did not give “written advance approval” of what it called “non-routine expenses” for those repairs. It also said the “plaintiff has completely failed to consider its own obligation” for those repairs, and that there was a $25,000 cap on those expenses.
“Defendant avers that these lessor and lessee obligations cancel each other out and therefore defendant owes plaintiff no money for said lease obligations,” read that document.
It also claimed the trust is not out rent money, having entered into a lease agreement with a new tenant, and that a $3,000 security deposit in escrow was a moot point as the building had already been vacated.
Not only did the group deny owing the trust that much money, it entered a counterclaim for $750 in rent that should be refunded for the remainder of July 2013 after the CRCA report was issued.
Lee filed a response July 3 that rebutted most of SCCT’s points.
The trust’s reply specifically denied that a new tenant was in possession of the property, although there was an admission of a “conditional agreement” with a prospective new tenant that has not yet gone into effect.
Lee also denied that the repairs were non-routine, and that SCCT needed to approve the work before it was begun.
The filing also denied the counterclaim.
“To the contrary, the lease contemplated the need for repairs, and the fact that repairs were necessary and could not be occupied pending repairs did not result in a breach,” read the reply.