by: Scott Liles, KTLO
The rash of area convenience stores abruptly closing across the area appears to be linked to a series a lawsuits between the properties’ owner and someone who was operating the stores without permission.
Exxon gas stations in Mountain Home, Flippin and Bull Shoals have all closed recently, along with Valero stations in Gassville and Alpena. The properties’ owner, SCF RC Funding IV LLC, has filed a series of lawsuits against one or more unnamed people, alleging that the individuals did not have permission to operate the stores and had been asked to vacate the premises in April.
SCF RC Funding IV LLC is identified in court filings as a “foreign LLC.” It has a Princeton, N.J., address according to incorporation papers filed with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. It is being represented in the lawsuits by attorney Kent Walker of the Walker Law Firm of North Little Rock.
The defendants in the lawsuits are identified only as the ‘tenant,’ and are described as “the individual and entity occupying and operating” the convenience stores.
SCF RC Funding IV LLC in late April served the tenant of each property with a notice that they had to vacate the stores.
“Plaintiff is unaware how Defendant entered into possession” of the properties, court filings state, as “… SCF did not negotiate with or execute an Agreement with Defendant for Lease.” The court filings go on to explain that “Plaintiff was unaware of Defendant’s occupation of the … property and did not agree to same as Subtenant.”
The letter addressed to the tenant of the Mountain Home Exxon station located at 1508 Highway 62 SW states that the lease for the store held by U.S. C-Store Operations LLC had been voided as of Jan. 1, 2021. “As SCF holds no contract with you for the lease of the Property, you are unlawfully subletting and detaining the Property and must vacate immediately,” the letter states.
The tenant had 10 days to vacate the property. The lawsuits ask for circuit courts in Baxter and Marion counties to file Writs of Possession ordering the county sheriffs to remove the defendants from the property.
“Defendant continues to hold and unlawfully detain” the property, the filings state.
In addition to removing the tenant, SCF RC Funding IV LLC asks that courts award it $85,125 in damages from the tenants, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. The damages represent one month’s back rent at each convenience store location multiplied by three, the maximum amount of damages that may be awarded under Arkansas business law.