Tony Sutton, Baja Sol being sued by ex-landlord

Categories: Politics
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Tony Sutton: In court for breach of contract.
Tony Sutton sold out of Baja Sol last February but the business' financial struggles continue to follow him.

Last November, Sutton, the chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party, was hit with an eviction suit from his landlord, Blackburn Blaine, who filed against Sutton for nonpayment of rent.

Tony and Bridget Sutton were late on Baja Sol's November rent payment on Baja Sol Tortilla Grill's Inver Grove Heights location. Court records show Baja Sol owed Blackburn Blaine $34,944 in past due rent and additional fees. The Suttons had defaulted on four previous occasions: June 2007, July 2007, April 2010, and June 2010.

The Inver Grove Heights Baja Sol closed last December.

"The store wasn't making money and we had to close it," Sutton said when reached for comment.

This past July, Sutton's landlord filed another lawsuit alleging breach of contract for breaking the lease. Blackburn Blaine claims Baja Sol is liable for "minimum monthly rent, additional rent, tenant improvements, and plaintiff's attorney fees and costs."

In its lawsuit, Blackburn claims the Suttons are personally liable for "the lesser of (I) the remaining Lease Term following the default by Defendant Baja Sol under the terms of the Lease; or (II) a period equal to ten (10) months of all such rent and other amounts payable following default by Defendant Baja Sol."

Last January, Blackburn Blaine's Chief Manager Gonzalo Medina Perez wrote a letter to Bridget Sutton addressing the debts.

"Under the current lease, Sutton Enterprises is liable for the remaining term of the lease, through April 30, 2017. The remaining balance due under the lease is approximately $1,040,787.74. Additionally, Tony and Bridget Sutton have personally guaranteed ten (10) months of the lease term, or approximately $133,000," according to the Dakota County court filing.

The Suttons no longer work for Baja Sol, having left the company in the past year. Baja Sol's attorney, Jack Harper, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

"We will not be commenting on this pending litigation as we do not wish to litigate this matter in the press," Harper said.

Sutton is contesting the lawsuit in court and says his attorneys are working to reach a settlement, but didn't offer much more information.

"Restaurant companies close units all the time, they work out deals with landlords, and at some point the lawyers will figure it all out," Sutton said. "That's about all I can say."

A recent judge's order set a trial date of June 28, 2012 for the lawsuit.


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19 comments
green23
green23

Yeah, it's just a contract. It's not legally binding.... is it?

Sutton is the guy who presided over the MN GOP's nearly $1 million debt to "small business job creators" who actually expected him to pay for the contracted work they performed. He signed off on false financial statements for years.

Sutton signed a contract. That makes him liable. The company didn't sign a contract; HE DID. Leaving the company doesn't change anything. He could have sublet the property. He could have put another business in there, and created jobs.

Instead, he let the property sit vacant. He left the owner with the bills for rent on property that they could not legally rent because it was under contract to Sutton.

Ironically, if the property owner had rented out the space, MX would be screeching about how "a contract is a CONTRACT".

From the article:"Additionally, Tony and Bridget Sutton have personally guaranteed ten (10) months of the lease term, or approximately $133,000," according to the Dakota County court filing"

Gosh, do you really mean that when someone "personally guaranteed" to pay a debt, that they really, truly have to pay it? Or does MX mean that Sutton's personal guarantee is meaningless?

Hey, MX, tell us again about how the Republicans believe in "personal responsibility".

Johnny
Johnny

Shall we start pulling the personal and business financial records for every politico in the state?  I for one would dearly love to see where Keith Ellison has received all of his travel monies and honorariums from the last 10 years...........

MX
MX

What a non story. The guy is no longer involved with the company. Is he supposed to pay for rent for a company that he has nothing to do with? When he sold his shared, the debt followed to the new owner. 

To me this seems more like a hate piece against a republican. Im surprised Bachman and Cain was not included.

Liberals are going to have to watch out with their boycotts of republican companies. There are  a lot more conservative then liberal companies. Should I boycott Progressive insurance just because the owner is liberal? It can go both ways.

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

His business failing is obviously the fault of Obama and the Democrats.   If we didn't live under their socialist Sharia Law government people wouldn't eat the crap that is Chipotle and instead would eat Baja Sol.   When will America learn?  

Asdf
Asdf

Why would anyone eat that shit when there are authentic Mexican places all over the place?

green23
green23

Do any of those " travel monies and honorariums" involve signed contracts? If not, how are they relevant to the issue of Sutton trying to weasel out of contracts that he signed and "personally guaranteed"?

Just maybe, since Sutton left the MN GOP with almost one million in debt to small businesses, the issue of him trying to screw a landlord out of contractually-obligated rent is relevant.

I look forward to your exposé on Ellison's unfulfilled contract obligations. You seem to know a lot about it. 

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

Hey stupid bastard why don't you do it then?   I'm sure most of that is public record.   Why don't you get off your lazy and stupid ass and actually do a little work?    Are you actually so stupid you don't understand that there are Republican websites out there too?    Since all Republicans are bigots that hate Muslims I'm pretty sure if Keith Ellison had done anything remotely dirty we would hear about it.   Try to think about things logically before just posting random nonsense.   Does it hurt being as dumb as you are?  

jade.rak
jade.rak

The debt would follow the new owner, except that he and his wife signed a personal guarantee... that means that they signed themselves personally liable for the debt. You don't transfer a personal guarantee unless it is specifically addressed in the sale which no new owner would accept.

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

Where in the article does it say anything about a boycott?   The point of the article was Tony Sutton is a bad businessman who doesn't pay his bills.  This behavior continued when he was in charge of the Republican Party.   The Republicans are in debt and owe numerous counties throughout Minnesota for charges they racked up during the Dayton/Emmer recount.   Do you like that idiot Tony Sutton might have screwed over the county you live in by racking up a big charge and not paying it?    It doesn't surprise me a Republican like you would be too stupid to actually read the article but you should be smart enough to shut up instead of posting your stupid nonsense.   People like you are why the Republican Party is exclusively a party of stupid bigots that hate science. 

guest
guest

You're right. Organic food is crap. 

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

The TCF Coopers (who have been the money behind this all along) have been quietly tweaking the menu since they got the Suttons out, but I doubt it's going to do much good; the fish tacos are still the best things on the menu, and every other chain does them better.  I can't imagine the Coopers continuing to pump more millions into this when they've been yanking TCF ExpressTellers from various high-traffic spots in the metro.

So sad:  All the Republican operatives with Baja Sol franchises will likely soon have to find other forms of wingnut welfare, as the BS turkey farm/sheltered workshop for RPMers looks to be on its last legs. (Bear in mind that these are the people who spend parts of every August whining about the DFL's tiny little french fry stand at the State Fair.)

MX
MX

Love it how liberals stoop to calling people "bozos", "bastards", "morons", "stupid" etc. Im not surprised that the KKK was started by Democrats. Lot of ideological hatred within your party.

I signed for various contracts at a company I no longer work for. If that company does not pay their phone, cable, IT service, office supply, etc. bills, am I to pay those bills even thought I have no connection to those companies?

MX
MX

WOW - lots of accusations with no facts to back it up. No wonder the country is divided.

MX
MX

I can sense the ideological liberal hatred in your mind. Chill out. You would be in good company with a neo Nazi or a KKK member, which would be fitting since the KKK was started by southern Democrats. 

MX
MX

I did read the article. Other posts here suggested not to eat there. So is the guy supposed to pay for rent on a business that he has no part of? Whats the point of this article?

Also, thanks for the sweeping and immature allegations against me, to be expected from a liberal. 

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

In other words, you have nothing except hot air.  Thanks for the tacit admission that you have no evidence and therefore must blather to hide this fact.

green23
green23

Hey, bozo, YOU are the one posting "accusations with no facts to back it up"!

You don't call court documents explaining how "approximately $133,000" was personally guaranteed by Sutton "facts"?

The article is explaining the controversy around the lease dispute. No court has actually found Sutton guilty, and nowhere in the article does the author say he is guilty.

Instead, we have one idiot who, without facts to back him up, claims that Ellison is guilty of...something. We don't know of what, because Ellison hasn't even been charged - much less convicted.

So we have one civil case going to trial over a contract, and another where some random bozo wonders aloud if someone else is guilty of some unspecified crime - and you want CP to handle both with equal credibility. Is this because you are partisan, or because you fail to grasp simple facts? 

Maybe "the country is divided"  because total morons like you believe that it's okay for one side to break the law because the other side is probably guilty of something, too. No need for facts, or court decisions...you know that both sides are guilty already.

green23
green23

Nobody posting here said "don't eat at Baja Sol". And what would that have to do with Sutton, since, as you point out, he has "no part of" the business? You make no sense.

You wrote:"So is the guy supposed to pay for rent on a business that he has no part of?"

He signed a contract, didn't he? He "personally guaranteed" the rent for ten months, didn't he?

Also, thanks for the sweeping and immature defence of Sutton, to be expected from a conservative.

Yeah, you are completely neutral and non-partisan, aren't you? And totally based on "the facts".

You wrote:"Whats the point of this article?"

That Sutton, who screwed over dozens of small businesses that were stupid enough to believe that a contract with the MN GOP meant that they would actually be paid, is now trying to screw over a small business landlord who mistakenly believed that a contract with Sutton meant something. Clear now?

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

You are a liar.   Who is suggesting a boycott in the other posts?   There were 3 posts before yours and none of them suggested or even said the word boycott.   All they said is the food sucked.  Nothing about boycotting Baja Sol because Tony Sutton is a Republican.   Typical Republican, a lying idiot.  

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