Today, At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson sent a letter to AG Peter Nickles urging him to reconsider evicting Cora Masters Barry‘s Recreation Wish List Committee from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. So far Nickles has taken a hard line on evicting Barry’s nonprofit which provides academic and athletic programs for area kids.

Mendelson writes:

“Contrary to your public statements, the District does have a choice. The matter of corporate filings could have been handled with a phone call, and ordinarily that would have been the process. The District is not required to evict the Recreation Wish List Committee. Now that the problem has been rectified, the District should choose to drop the eviction.”

Mendelson makes several arguments in his letter as to why Barry should remain in the tennis center.

Mendelson writes:

“First, the eviction notice violates the lease because it fails to state the basis for the eviction. Second, the eviction notice violates the lease be-cause notice of default was never given.  The lease includes standard language requiring that prior to a default (i.e., the basis for an eviction) the District must provide notice of the default. Nothing in the lease specifies that notice is waived even if the default is pre-existing. Third, the default in this matter is readily curable – and has been. Press reports indicate failure to maintain corporate filings is the reason. I’m told that the filings have been made, and that yesterday the Recreation Wish List Committee’s corporate status was reinstated.”

Mendelson goes on to state that his council office has never received any complaints about the tennis center’s operations and that the programs are popular. Why shut down something that works?

Mendelson concludes his letter by telling Nickles that the eviction is not only a waste of time but is also a waste of city resources. Eventually, if the eviction goes forward, Mendelson suggests that the city will surely face some kind of costly court showdown.

“I urge you to reconsider the legal sufficiency of the proposed eviction and, in light of the facts, recommend that the eviction be rescinded. Not doing this will subject the District to defensive litigation, which is at best unnecessary, but more likely embarrassing and costly. I am available to discuss this if you wish.”