Religion

In Landlord-Tenant Squabble, West Oak Cliff Center Contests Diocese's Eviction Notice

Last we checked, a small Hispanic community center offering after-school activities to the kiddos, tutoring for teens and a support group for seniors was getting kicked out of its West Oak Cliff digs by God's Emissary in Dallas, Bishop Kevin Farrell.

A spokesperson for the diocese told Unfair Park that its tenant, the Calumet Community Center, was in "continued, repeated violation of the lease agreement" -- that violation being a failure to provide proof of insurance. Calumet disagreed, accused Bishop Kevin Farrell of "bully tactics" and a he-said-she-said stalemate ensued.

Today Calumet provided us with certificates for general liability, umbrella liability, workers compensation and employers' liability. We're no experts here, but it looks like Calumet is covered until at least September. The diocese got the same packet, and they say it doesn't cut it. "I don't want to get into specifics, but I don't think long-term coverage is in place," says diocese spokesperson Annette Gonzales Taylor.

To hear her tell it, Calumet has pushed the diocese past the limits of forbearance. They've failed to provide "complete financial reports," Gonzales Taylor says, and, according to a flier, didn't seek the OK before scheduling Zumba classes.

"They also did not give us information on groups they were subleasing to," she said. "The bottom line is through the years they've been in serious noncompliance with the terms of the lease, specifically the insurance component puts the parish and the school at very high risk. The parish owns the land."

Parrying suspicions of a profit motive, the diocese, she assured us, has no "commercial tenant waiting in the wings" to take over the land occupied by Calumet.

When reached for comment, recently retained attorney for the community center Marcos Ronquillo declined to comment.

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Brantley Hargrove