Tumbleweed Connection files lawsuit following abrupt closure in Oregon District

Tumbleweed Connection. MARK FISHER/STAFF

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Tumbleweed Connection. MARK FISHER/STAFF

The operator of Tumbleweed Connection has filed a civil lawsuit against its landlord seeking damages of more than $75,000.

Tumbleweed Connection, located at 454 E. 5th St. and operated by Tanya Atkinson, has been a fixture in the Oregon District for over 40 years. It’s been closed since March 1, the lawsuit says, after a dispute with the bar’s landlord, Schaney Family Limited Partnership and Michelle Schaney.

They were unable to be reached for comment for this article.

Atkinson filed the lawsuit on Friday afternoon following an alleged incident at the bar March 1. According to court documents filed with the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, a Tumbleweed employee was in the process of opening when Schaney allegedly instructed the employee to get out and said “she was changing the locks immediately.”

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Atkinson told the court that Schaney refused to give a reason for changing the locks or for the sudden eviction. The lawsuit filed by Atkinson states that Tumbleweed and its employees received no notice before March 1 that they had violated any terms of their lease agreement.

Atkinson said the defendants “covered the windows and signage at the Tumbleweed Connection and posted signs indicating the business was ‘Closed for Remodeling.’” Atkinson has since been refused access to the property and records on-site, according to the lawsuit.

Due to the abrupt closure, the lawsuit states that Tumbleweed has suffered damages of more than $25,000. It says Atkinson believes Schaney’s decision to evict right before March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day without any prior notice or communication was done “with ill will and malicious intent” and entitles Tumbleweed to punitive damages.

The lawsuit also states that the food delivered to the bar on March 1 “presently sits in the middle of the floor of the property, unrefrigerated and spoiling.” In total, Atkinson is suing Schaney for $75,000 plus interest.

On March 1, Tumbleweed posted to its Facebook page the following statement:

“Hey locals, with us closed we have 14 employees, bartenders, barbacks and cooks. If anyone knows of positions for any of them we would love to pass it along. We are very upset of the hurt this is causing them. Good people, good workers. Please reach out. Thanks!”

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