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Closing arguments made in Kahler Hotels eviction trial

Attorneys in the Kahler Hotels LLC's eviction trial against Rochester businesswoman Renee Carlson made their closing arguments today, with court adjourning at 2:45 p.m.

Testimony in the case was completed this morning.

Olmsted County District Judge Joseph Chase said he will make a decision in about 10 days.

Carlson -- owner of the Revelation, Les Wigs Renee and Merle Norman cosmetics store in the Kahler -- has been a tenant for 10 years and contends she has a valid lease through 2018. The hotel's new management wants her out, and claims she didn't give legal notice to extend the terms of her lease.

In preparation for a change in ownership at the hotel properties in January, then-leasing director Sandra Woodford delivered letters on Jan. 21 to every tenant to assess their intent regarding their leases. Despite similar — or identical — circumstances among tenants, the letters differed in content, according to exhibits offered by both sides. Carlson's contained no wording about an extension.


"I understand that the Kahler's position is that the January letter is of no legal significance," said Olmsted County District Judge Joseph Chase, "but I have yet to decide that."

Woodford and Carlson both testified Tuesday that they believed the letter was an extension to Carlson's lease, despite no written confirmation.

"There is no other issue than the meaning of the letter and how it relates back to the original lease," Chase said. "The facts support the finding that I'm leaning toward, which is that the parties had an actual meeting of the minds in January 2013, which was that the lease was extended for another three-year period.

"The Kahler management stands in the shoes of Miss Woodford," he said. "Her actions are their actions. I first thought there was some monkey business going on, but I don't think so anymore. It was just their way of doing business."

Chase must rule "what significance — if any — of the missing phrase" regarding a lease extension, he said. "Both parties thought it was clear, and I'm confident that they both felt they were reading a lease extension."

Attorneys from both sides submitted legal authority — previous cases they believe address the issue.

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