Carson judge to hear real estate dispute |

Carson judge to hear real estate dispute

by Christy Chalmers

A Carson City judge will decide a dispute between a Minden real estate brokerage and a property management firm, starting with whether the owner of the management group should be fired from the brokerage.

A lawsuit filed recently in Douglas District Court pits Century 21-Clark Properties Property Management and its owner, Lynne Cauley, against Clark Properties, Inc., which does business as Century 21-Clark Properties, and its owners, Shele Pandl, Jim Pandl and Robert Louis Wigton.

Cauley, who bought the property management firm from Clark Properties in 1992 and also works as an agent for the brokerage, is claiming the Pandls and Wigton are trying to drive her out of the property management business. Court documents say they bought the brokerage in 1998.

In the lawsuit, Cauley cites the 1992 purchase agreement, which required the brokerage to give the property management firm 369 square feet of space within its offices for 25 years. Rent for the space was to mirror the prevailing commercial rate in the Carson Valley.

Cauley contends the brokerage owners have breached the contract by not providing the space and recently informing her that they would be moving to another location, where space for her business would cost $6.78 per square foot instead of the prevailing rate of $1.

She says the owners are also demanding that she stop using the Century 21 and Clark Properties names, charging her a “receptionist fee” for helping property management clients and asking for $1,000 a month if Cauley wants to keep operating under the brokerage’s license.

Plus, Cauley has been given notice she will be terminated as a brokerage agent effective Nov. 15 and is seeking an order to stop the termination. Griffin heard the request Friday, but did not rule.

In an affidavit filed Tuesday, Cauley claims the defendants “have initiated a campaign attempting to drive me away from my business…If the defendants are allowed to carry out their threat to terminate my license, my business is ruined; since brokerage will remain as broker of record for all of my clientele, the defendants will rob me of the benefit of my bargain and in effect repossess the business that they sold me over seven years ago.”

Kevin Ryan, a lawyer for the brokerage, disputes Cauley’s claims in a letter arguing against the order to stop the termination.

“Cauley was warned weeks ago that if she continued along her present course of action whereby she refused to even discuss the dispute with her employer, she would be terminated,” Ryan wrote. “This came as no surprise to her and said termination is consistent with Nevada law.”

He says the brokerage could suffer if the termination is rejected because Cauley has “interfered with my client’s business operation, has defamed the owners of the entity and continues to caucus with other employees at Century 21 in order to create ill will and/or garner sympathy.”

Cauley said in her affidavit she filed the lawsuit “because of the defendants’ increasingly shrill and harassing demands” and called their actions “unreasonable” and “malicious.”

In addition to a temporary order preventing the termination, Cauley is seeking a ruling that the defendants must provide the office space at the prevailing rent rate, continued use of the Century 21 name and the brokerage license, removal of the “receptionist fee” and general, special and punitive damages in excess of $10,000.

Douglas County’s district judges have both disqualified themselves from hearing the case, appointing Carson District Judge Mike Griffin instead.