We’ve been having problems at The Factory in St. Pete for the past few months. In September, a social media account belonging to “Creative Hub” posted a post announcing the closure of the business. The Factory quickly deleted the post and issued a statement saying the original post was a mistake and was the result of a misunderstanding.
On Monday, co-owner Kara Behar released a statement notifying the media that the Dimites had filed a foreclosure lawsuit on the property. “Instead of extending the bank loan for another year, we have secretly obtained the first mortgage on the property from Bank OZK,” said St. Pete CEO Liz Dimmitt.
When contacted by email, Mr. Dimitt said he was not personally involved in the application on behalf of the Lawrence H. Dimitt III Revocable Trust. She referred the Tampa Bay Times to her Trenam Law attorney, Gerald Davis, and provided a copy of her foreclosure complaint filed Nov. 3 by the Dimitt Trust. Kara Behar; Jordan Behar and her five other defendants;
Guru & Gaia is a Behar limited liability company that owns The Factory property. Dimit is a co-administrator of the entity.
Currently, The Factory, St. Pete remains open and operating as normal.
In 2018, Guru & Gaia entered into a $3.15 million mortgage agreement with Bank OZK, according to the action summary in the complaint. Loan defaulted in 2022, and The Dimit Trust said it was purchased “to relieve financial pressure on The Factory.”
Also, Dimmitt Trust provided Guru & Gaia with a $5 million loan in 2021 for facility improvements, Behar confirms, and that Dimmitt Trust was the primary funder of The Factory. also said.
According to the lawsuit, Guru & Gaia are now behind on their loans and the Dimitt Trust is demanding their payment. In the event of non-payment, the Trust is “seeking court assistance to protect its position with the Factory and secure repayment of its debts.” , said there was no response.
The lawsuit is aimed at recovering damages and “appointing a trustee to oversee the assets.”
The summary concludes with: The Dimitt Trust intends The Factory to continue to support art and local community hosts and expects existing lease agreements with current tenants to continue to be honored. ”
In a statement, Behar said the foreclosure was an attempt to force her and husband Jordan out of the ownership group and “avoid the struggling Fairgrounds’ large debts.”
When Behar reached out by phone, she said she had a small amount left on her first loan and could pay it off with her husband. She said the check she sent to the Dimitt Trust in October for her mortgage payment was returned by the trust.
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Behar said in her initials A statement that the Dimitts have not fulfilled their financial obligations to the property and have not paid for the construction of the fairgrounds. She said it put The Factory in financial trouble and broke the lien. Mortgage terms that allow foreclosure.
She noted that Fairgrounds received $100,000 from the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Regional Fund in 2019 and a $3 million investment from Jeff and Penny Binick in 2020.
In an emailed statement, Dimitt said Behar’s claims about himself and Fairgrounds St. Pete were “grossly inaccurate.” She said there was no lien on The Factory as a result of Fairgrounds. will be in a prime position to receive payments.”
“We plan to continue operating Fairgrounds St. Pete,” Dimitt wrote. “As co-administrator of Guru & Gaia…I hope to work with Behars to bring this dispute to an amicable conclusion.As the largest tenant of The Factory, I am grateful for its success and We are deeply invested in our mission to build and support the art community of St. Petersburg.”
Mr Behar said he was battling the foreclosure with a new legal team and working with new investor Metro Development Group. She said she wanted “a fair solution for The Factory to continue advancing its cultural goals.”
“I am very disappointed that they did not handle it amicably and submit it publicly,” Behar said.