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Electric company seeks injunction against Coral Academy’s landlord

In the latest step in a nearly three-year legal battle, a Henderson electric company is seeking a permanent injunction in court against its neighbor — the owner of property under lease to Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas.

Solid State Properties filed a motion for permanent injunction April 16 in Clark County District Court, and the company that owns the public charter school’s building — 7777 Eastgate LLC — responded April 30 with an opposition to the motion.

Granting a permanent injunction would essentially shut down Coral Academy’s Eastgate campus, the school’s landlord alleges in court documents.

“We are obviously doing everything possible to keep this Campus open, and we are confident we will prevail,” Ercan Aydogdu, executive director for Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas, wrote in an April 30 letter to Eastgate parents that was obtained by the Review-Journal.

Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas is a public, tuition-free charter school with six campuses. The Eastgate campus — on Eastgate Road in Henderson — opened in August 2018, and has about 650 students in kindergarten through seventh grades and nearly 40 employees.

The school has started an online petition, which had received 2,075 signatures as of Thursday afternoon. It will be available until May 14.

Lawsuit against landlord, not school

In a written statement Thursday to the Review-Journal, Aydogdu wrote: “The entire Coral Academy family is working diligently to obtain the needed votes allowing us the opportunity to stay in our Eastgate location. This has been a difficult and in our opinion, unnecessary journey. We are thankful to our community leaders and elected officials for their continued support as we embark upon this endeavor…”

Brian Whitaker, an attorney representing Solid State Properties, said Thursday that he planned to file a reply to the motion that afternoon.

The lawsuit is against Eastgate, which owns the school building — not the school itself, he said. Partial summary judgments were issued in October 2018 and April 7, with Solid State Properties listed as the creditor for both of the monetary judgments, according to online court records.

Whitaker said Coral Academy’s campus is immediately behind his client’s property, Silver State Electric. “My client loves education and is pro-educational use,” he said.

He said his client is worried about having young children near heavy equipment in the industrial center and that because the school isn’t in a residential neighborhood, parents have to transport their children to campus.

Whitaker said his client is “trying to protect his investment interest.” In court documents, the electric company says its business operations have been affected.

A long dispute

Solid State Properties originally filed a lawsuit in December 2017 in Clark County District Court against Eastgate.

Silver State Electric bought property in 2016 and Eastgate already owned the adjoining lot, according to court documents.

In August 2017, Eastgate leased its property to Coral Academy. The electric company informed Eastgate of its concerns and said the lease violates Black Mountain Industrial Center covenants, conditions and restrictions, according to court documents.

The city of Henderson approved a conditional use permit for Coral Academy’s Eastgate campus in November 2017, city spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said, adding certain conditions were required to be met.

Attorneys for Eastgate say the “tortured dispute” began after it declined in 2016 to sell a small piece of property to Solid State Properties, according to court documents.

The electric company “cannot show that the hardship it faces outweigh the hardship of displacing all of the Coral Academy students, teachers and staff,” according to court documents.

Effort to allow school to stay

Michael Hiltz, broker/owner of SGH Commercial Advisers, represented Coral Academy in the leasing of the property and with the conditional use permit. Now, he’s working on spearheading an effort seeking to amend the Black Mountain Industrial Center’s current CC&Rs to allow for Coral Academy to remain open as a permitted use, he said Thursday.

He said that he went through the process once and got support from about 70 percent of industrial center property owners to amending it, but the court ruled there were issues with the way it was written that had to be resolved.

Hiltz said they’ve revised the language and are requesting support again.

Aydogdu with Coral Academy wrote in the letter to parents that “our neighbor has repeatedly harassed the Eastgate Campus” and that legal proceedings have cost the school more than $100,000 in taxpayer money.

In the letter, Aydogdu wrote the neighbor sued the school’s landlord and city of Henderson, objected to the school’s city permit and “indirectly forced us to build a costly roadway to re-route traffic by his business.”

Whitaker said Thursday that access to the school was originally across his client’s property until a roadway was built. “Traffic was horrible when the school opened.”

Eastgate built a $200,000 roadway — a condition of receiving a conditional use permit, its attorneys write in court documents. The school’s enrollment was also reduced to the “lowest financially-sustainable number.”

A bench trial is set for June 15.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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