Dayton Club owner faces lawsuits over members’ dues

NEW DETAILS: Dayton Club owner responds to Stratacache/Arkham lawsuit

The owner of the Dayton Club downtown has responded to a recent lawsuit in a new message to club members, charging that its landlord has kept club employees locked out of the club’s space atop Stratacache Tower.

Arkham Ventures, owner of Stratacache Tower, last week sued the former Dayton Racquet Club in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, saying the club has failed to make its April and May lease payments and left perishable items in the “unsecured” club space.

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The suit also alleged that people have been availing themselves of the club’s “fully stocked” bars since the club’s closure in March.

A new message from Dallas-based ClubCorp — the Dayton Club’s owner — does not directly say whether the company intends to reopen the club. The Arkham lawsuit states that a ClubCorp officer communicated to Arkham that the club will make no further lease payments and will not reopen.

When the Dayton Daily News contacted ClubCorp’s general counsel earlier this week, she declined to comment.

This newspaper has asked the company again what its plans are for the club, and this story will be updated if ClubCorp responds to those questions.

“In light of today’s Dayton Daily News article, we wanted to provide an update on the status of the Dayton Club,” the message to club members from Dallas-based ClubCorp begins. “As you know, due to COVID-19 and the governor’s order, our club has been closed for full service to members since late March. The article and lawsuit reference the club being abandoned and unattended; however, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had staff at the club to handle administrative tasks, as well as to provide meals to our furloughed employees.”

RELATEDDayton Club closing to leave a void downtown, members believe

“Just last week and without notice, our landlord boarded up the club and is not allowing us to access our space,” ClubCorp added. “This action has forced us to close our doors until further notice. We strongly disagree with their position and the assertions in the article and lawsuit they filed.”

ClubCorp said that in April, the company communicated that it would issue “usage credits” to eligible members “as the company evaluated its plan and navigated the impacts of the governor’s order.”

“When we billed your dues in April, we had no knowledge that our landlord would lock us out of our club and prevent any entry by our employees or members,” ClubCorp said in its emailed message. “With this recent action by the landlord and no longer having access to the club, in the coming weeks, we plan to refund all members for their prorated dues paid in March as well as for the entire month of April.”

ClubCorp said Arkham has kept employees locked out of the club “despite our numerous attempts to facilitate the retrieval of your personal items.”

Chris Riegel, chief executive of Stratacache and owner of Arkham, said he and his colleagues have communicated with ClubCorp representatives for some three months. Club representatives have been clear in their communications that they intend to close the Dayton Club, Riegel said Wednesday.

However, if the club wishes to reopen, that's simple enough, Riegel added.

"It's super simple. ClubCorp, pay your rent," he said.

Riegel dismissed the company's email as a "charade."

"ClubCorp, if you want to reopen, bring your rent payments current, and you can reopen whenever you want," he said, adding: "They're the ones with the power" to reopen. 

Ten club members have appointments to come to the club Wednesday to retrieve their property, Riegel also said. "We're facilitating that day in and day out with members," he said. 

ClubCorp said it will keep members updated. The new message to members was dated Tuesday. ClubCorp also shared the message with a Dayton Daily News reporter.

Arkham, the real estate arm of global digital technology company Stratacache, bought the downtown tower at 40 N. Main St. in early 2019.

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