Owners of failed West Des Moines ice cream store face hearing

The problem, according to John and Brayton Weber, is that the mall sued two people who never promised to be responsible for its debts.The Webers, father and son, allege in a second Polk County lawsuit that an unnamed General Growth employee committed fraud by forging John Weber's name on paperwork pledging to personally guarantee the lease.

The Des Moines Register
April 2, 2009

Owners of failed West Des Moines ice cream store face hearing
Jeff Eckhoff

Owners of a failed ice cream franchise store near Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines face a key court hearing Wednesday to determine whether they will be granted another delay in their bid to avoid paying more than $44,000 in back rent and fees.

Polk County court papers say Weber Dairy, a Cedar Rapids corporation, owes General Growth Properties at least $43,925, plus interest, after the company closed a failed Maggie Moo's ice cream parlor last spring.

The ice cream store, in a strip center south of the mall's lake, closed in March 2008, more than two years into a 10-year lease. Documents show mall owner General Growth sued Weber Dairy and its two listed officers before the month was out.

The problem, according to John and Brayton Weber, is that the mall sued two people who never promised to be responsible for its debts.

The Webers, father and son, allege in a second Polk County lawsuit that an unnamed General Growth employee committed fraud by forging John Weber's name on paperwork pledging to personally guarantee the lease.

The Webers, who also could pay up to $10,000 for General Growth lawyer fees, seek court damages "in an amount sufficiently fairly and adequately to compensate them for their injuries."

Neither Weber could be reached for comment Wednesday, and lawyers on both sides of the issue did not return phone messages. The only address for Weber Dairy appears to be John Weber's home.

Both sides face a court hearing next week when Judge Robert Hanson will be asked to merge the two lawsuits, likely delaying an April 29 trial on the debt-collection case, tossing out the fraud claim for procedural reasons, or delaying one and moving ahead with the other.

General Growth argued in court that the Webers, who filed the fraud suit in February, shortly before the other case was due for trial, have abused the court system and don't deserve another delay. Combining the cases would be unfair, the mall owner argues.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090402/BUSINESS/904020367/-1/NEWS04&community=WestDesMoines


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