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Horizon Charter Schools remove eviction notices

Landlord alleges organization behind in payments
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Horizon Charter Schools instructed staff to remove 30-day eviction notices from its Auburn, Elk Grove and recently vacated Rocklin locations, and denies the landlord’s allegation the organization is behind on its payments, according to a Friday press release that states it’s from Horizon administration.

“Additional fees, not in the contracts, have been billed to Horizon,” said the release, adding that the matter had been referred to its legal counsel. “Horizon is current will all contractual payments.

“Horizon is 100 percent committed to providing ongoing, excellent education to students.”

Horizon closed its 391-student third-through-eighth-grade Accelerated Learning Academy and high school Rocklin Academy of Math, Science and Engineering site on Technology Way in October, citing safety issues with traffic at the site. The ALA program will be discontinued effective Dec. 21 and will include ending the K-2 classes in Lincoln.

The three Horizon sites are all under a master agreement with GroupAccess, which subleases the properties from various owners, said David Durrett, a Sacramento attorney representing GroupAccess. GroupAccess fears Horizon is abandoning the Rocklin location and will stop paying on its lease, which would have a domino effect on the other two sites, Durrett said.

He said the notices were served Dec. 3 after multiple attempts since late October by GroupAccess to reach out and communicate with Horizon have failed. Asked whether they were served in part to force a dialogue to be opened, he said, “Oh, yeah.”

“That finally came out of just total frustration because they are short paying some bills, they’re disputing some charges although they haven’t formally responded, so I guess it’s hard to have a war of quotes without having a discussion,” he said.

GroupAccess has also provided a number of technological services to Horizon during the past 10 years, and is still responding to IT requests, even though there is no discussion at administrative levels, Durrett said.

“Understand this is a double suicide. My client has no desire to see Horizon fail,” he said. “But the folks at Horizon don’t realize that if they cause my client to fail, they’re not going to have any Internet, they’re not going to have emails, they’re not going to have broadband, and they’re not going to have three facilities.”

A woman reached at the office of Horizon’s Auburn Learning Center deferred comment to Horizon administration, which did not return phone and email messages Friday. A message left for GroupAccess owner David Brockmeyer at a number listed on its website also was not returned.

Roseville attorney Glenn Peterson represents Horizon, and said parents and students need not be concerned about the eviction notices, calling it a product of “desperate acts from a desperate man.”

“I think that it will take me about 10 seconds to prove they are fabricated falsehoods if we go to court,” said Peterson, adding Horizon is current on all payments to GroupAccess through December, including the vacated Rocklin site that will “be the subject of litigation very soon.”

“… Horizon would have been very much within their rights to quit paying this guy because we’re going to sue him very soon.”

The notices cited late fees on payments related to July invoices that the school was only billed for in the past few days, Peterson said.

“I find it very telling that he is doing this stuff outside of the lawyers because the lawyers won’t sign their name to it because they know it’s a bunch of garbage, so he’s created the bogus invoices that on their face are suspect,” he said. “He’s using that alleged nonpayment to create a default that would justify posting these eviction notices. Now, the one eviction notice that I’ve seen didn’t come from a lawyer, it came from Brockmeyer directly.”

Durrett said he disagreed with the assertions the notices were based on falsified claims.

“We’d dispute that, but we haven’t had any meetings to discuss it,” he said. “I’m not going to say that they’re wrong because what we’ve invited is discussion … to sit down and go over it, and my client has been offering to do that for quite some time.”

In order to carry out an eviction, GroupAccess would have to take the matter to court, Peterson said.

“My prediction is he (Brockmeyer) will never do that,” Peterson said. “He might be willing to lie, but he won’t be willing to lie under penalty of perjury.”

The Auburn Learning Center on Blocker Drive opened in 2005 and has an enrollment of about 250 students grades K-12, according to its website.

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews